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§t]ltx |Voems. 








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* Vide Introduction to " Quentin Durwaid," p. liv. Edit. ISSG. 

^.r4> "Zi^'. -)«-C J 



Thomas a Becket 


Lady Audrey Leigh 

. 133 


. 148 

Isis Trifoemis 

. 165 

Mrs. J. E. R — d — e's Dream . 

. 175 

To Augusta ... V 

. 183 

The New Land 

. 186 

The Pursuit of Happiness 

. 189 

The Grande Chartreuse 

. 193 

Chant of the Free Rifles 

. 195 

A Lesson for Youth 

. 197 

Shades of Life 

. 199 

To Egypt 

. 201 

Corolla Persica — 

Sadi .... 

. 205 

Sayib .... 

. 207 

Khakanee , 

. 208 

Hafiz . . . . 

. 209 

Khusroo . . . . 

. 211 


. 212 


. 213 

Hafiz .... 

, 214 

f Irumits 5 §ctlict. 

Ursffjts fu^xtstnttln. 

Henry II. 

Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. 

William of Pavia, Cardinal of St. Peter's. 

Otho, Cardinal of St. Nicolas. 

Roger, Archbishop of York. 

Gilbert Foliot, Bishop of London. 

JoscELiN, Bishop of Salisbury. 

Henry, Bishop of Winchester. 

Peter op Nismes, Friend of William of Pavia. 

John op Salisbury, Secretary to Becket. 

The Dean op Boulogne. 

Ranulp de Broc , a Norman Baron. 

William de Tracy. -\ 

Richard B rito. [ Knights, attendant on Henry. 

Reginald Fitzurse. C 

Hugh de Moreville.J 

Lords, &c. Ditto. 

Father op Agnes. 

Richard Blois, a Norman. 

Cuthbert, a Military Retainer of Ranulf de Broc. 

Tungstan, attendant of Becket. 

Monks, Crowd, 8(c. 


Scene I. — Road to Canterbury. 
Timgstan and Cuthhert. 


'Tis a long way to Canterbury. 


So we have felt it — yet your master, Tungstan, 
Found a short cut to the archbishopric ! 
But, courage, comrade ; lo ! the rising towers 
Of the old cathedral mock the wayfarer 
With a false show of neai-ness. 



So appear 
The heights of Heav'u to those who deem they have 

In fetch of a quick walk. 


Which saw suits best, — 
Or priest, or soldier ? The hard labourer 
In battle's field sweats to discomfiture 
Of limb or life, that saintly stay-at-homes 
May stretch their easy length, mouthing the fruits 
Of their weU-guarded acres, and absolve 
The crimes of such world-wanderers as myself, 
Who sin to make their comfort ! 


Worthy friend ! 
Doth that man stay at home, but now returning 
From seven long years of mortal banishment 1 


But he supports a system which itself 

Supports a hundred idlers in the s\m. 

For one who digs i' the vineyard — 'tis the same. 



Cuthbert ! thou know'st I ne'er was bless'd at school 
With wit of words, or a contentious tongue ; 
Yet have I more — 


In what 1 


A heart to love 
One who is worthy of it all — tvho more 
Than the Lord Becket, tell me, the good Primate 
Of this religious land 1 


Henry the King ! 
The royal head of this most warhke land ! 


Who had an arm more strongly nerved than Becket 1 
Who had a heart more firmly set than Becket, 
In the bewildering din which soldiers love 
And call it glory ? 


True ; it ivas so, Tungstau. 
More shame for him, that doffing coat of steel 
With the priest's garb he donn'd another temper. 


Why doth he thwart the King ? why throw the Church 
Like a vast shadow o'er the path which Henry 
Would disinherit of the ancient rubbish 
That blocks the light 1 


Speak plainly — what's the light 

You hint at 1 


Hint at ! truly it would spend 
A summer's day, to read the muster-roll 
Of all the wrongs in State or Church, which Henry 
Hath warr'd with to the life : take this alone 
As a similitude of other things 
And of another kind, which now we see — 
That two weak travellers, like you and me, 
Can thi-ead these winding roads, nor fear such risk 
As at each brake and turn would have sprung out 
Upon our forceful path, in the good times 
Of custom'd lawlessness. 


That man does more 
Who clears the way to an immortal home, 
With heav'n-directed hand ! 



Who clears the way- 
Must tread the path himself — who knows he knows it ? 
Here, our sure senses can at least discern 
The benefit we wot of. Say besides, 
Who is't that would defend the land he loves 
With her own children's arms, and oust the herd 
Of fierce ( ' > * Brabangons, ready for all work 
That bids the best for blood ? 


And was not Becket 
The first who started this ? 


More shame, I say, 
To leave the good cause now ! Once side by side 
He fought with royal Henry 'gainst the oppressor ; 
But now he quits the field, or frowns defiance 
From his contemptuous height, while Henry stoops 
To untie the vassal's limbs. 


The lowest serf 
Who takes on him new duties, and performs 
The Church's ministrations, from that hour 

* See Notes at the end of this Poem. 


Casts off the heavy slough of his old life, 

And breathes in liberty, and walks in pow'r. 

'Tis this which makes our English hearts twine round 

The pillar of the Church — that Church which still. 

Like a good mother, 'bout her meanest son 

Throws her strong arms, from which secure he gazes 

With glance to glance upon the castled Norman. 


Nay ; you've become a minstrel since your schoolhood. 

Good Tungstan ! But bethink thee, wer't not better 

To rase the castle, that its dangerous owner 

May lack the possibility of Pow'r, 

When Pow'r is wrong, and let the vassal out 

Free in himself and his own right to run 

No risk of changing chains ? The serf, you say, 

Turn'd into priest is free ; all should be free : 

Now, 'twere a pretty world, gramercy, Tungstan, 

If all in it were priests ! Bah ! let me ask, 

What makes the robber Arab scour the desert. 

But that there crawls some peaceful traveller there 1 

Priests prey not on their kind. 


The Primate preys 
On nothing but himself — how greatly that ! 


On his own thoughts by day ; his rest i' the night : 
Ay, on the flesh on which the holy scourge 
Venges the spirit's quarrel. 


More fool he 
With such a form to shrine a woman's worship ! 


He's pure — has made a covenant with his eyes, 
And every day does penance — 


— As Archbishop 
For sins of the unsainted Chancellor ! (2) 


'Tis false \—his sins ! Hadst thou as few to reckon 
Thou hadst one foot in Heav'n ! 


Wotdd he had both ! 
Far better there, than on the soil of England ! 
Why comes he here, to teach men's minds to wrestle 
In hatred ? Brother gives the fall to brother — 
And wherefore "?— to be crown'd or curs'd at Rome ! 
Methinks such weeds as these are not the flow'rs 


Which the good man should plant on earth, and gather 
To scent his clothes in Heav'n ! 


His foes press on him — 
It is their fault, I say : he seeks the honour 
Of God, and of his order. 


Doubtless, Tungstan, 
They are the same. Most pious juggler ! 


What ? 
Seven years of abstinent absence ! juggler he ! 
His enemies are mine. 

[He walks apart, and sits down, with his head 
leaning on his hand. 


Poor Tungstan ! he is faithful : where's the wonder 1 
They say this man of God hath such a tongue 
'Twould oil the rustiest temper till it work'd 
Right smoothly to the key of policy. 

[Looking kindly at Tungstan. 
True to his colours, that's a merit ! — fool, 
If so, he is an honest one ; his heart 
Does duty for his head. I love his face, 


With all its dear affectionate ugliness. 
Come, Tungstan ! Well not quarrel : let the King 
And Primate have their bout — your hand, man, come, 
The Church sha'n't part old friends. 


Nay — promise first — 
Think better of my master ! 


I will try it 
For your sake, Tungstan : there, shake hands ; and now 
I'm off to Saltwood. 


I to Canterbury, 
To make all ready for the pray'd-for coming 
Of my dear lord, who for these tedious years 
Hath lack'd my wonted service. I commend you 
To the good Virgin ! 


And I you, kind Tungstan, 
To any saint you choose. 


Scene IL— Chapter House of St. PauVs. 

The Bishops of London, Winchester, (^) and Salisbury. 
The Arxhbishop of York. 


We must forestall, by countercharge to Rome, 
The threaten'd danger, and that quickly ; time 
Presses our steps against this man, 


This man is an Archbishop, good my Lord, 
And may have right likewise to claim from us 
Some steps in his behalf. 


From us, my Lord ? 


What hath he battled for, but Mother Church ; 

To lift her rank ; to gift with deeper root 

Her world-o'erspreading rights ? Hath he not borne 

The wrath of kings, the pangs of banishment, 

Serving high Heav'n, whose lowly ministers 

Are we ; and must he stand alone, to fight 


The cause of friends, without one friendly arm 
To point a weapon, or to raise a shield 
For God or him ! 


Indeed, this Becket — why- 
Call him Ai'chbishop 1 His authority, 
The way he wields it, doth not fit the time. 
And quarrels with men's tempers — we renounce it ! — 
Truly this Becket fights with weapons forg'd 
Of violent earth : his stubbornness of pride 
Is tougher than a hauberk, and his haste 
(Rebounding from a weak submissiveness) (*) 
Gleams like the axe of some blind warrior, 
Hewing both friend and foe, 


His stubbornness 
Is the firm will that holds the tortured sense, 
Rigid in faith to the Priest's vow of office. 
Though Fy'ince turn executioner. 


'Twas Becket 
(When Becket was a Chancellor) who tax'd 
The Church for his lord's battles. 



Ay ! 'twas Becket, 
When Becket was Archbishop, who consented 
To the King's customs, (^) which he flies at now 
As if the Devil had penn'd them. 


He will swamp 
Our order in the rash conflicting sea, 
Which his ambition stirs. The cause of truth, 
As of our office, asks for gentler means 
Whose seeming weakness works out strongest ends ; 
Bending to see more clearly how to rise. 
And letting go, to grasp more certainly 
When the hold is not felt. 


These remedies 
Smell of the earth, and work for it. Heaven's cause 
Is not akin to that, which the shrewd world 
Hangs over in its thrifty counting-house. 
Of mere material loss or gain, admitting 
The balance be cast up, and winning items 
Put to its credit. The expedient tongue 
That lisps "Yea, yea," when it should shout out "Never," 
Does so far soil the vii'gin purity 


Of what it serves, as leaves the delicate thing 
Dishonour'd in its spirit, and scarce worth 
Or contest, or defence. 


Dost know the King 1 
Doth he not hate this Becket with a hate 
Bred of sour'd love, and a remember'd sense 
Of benefits forgot 1 Where's thy allegiance ? 
The Heav'n we serve plants Henry on the throne. 
And ranges us for subjects, — subjects are — 


Such, and not slaves. But much I fear this subject 
Is one on which I shall not rule your judgments. 
One word then as the sum. It seems most strange 
That we should frown upon oui- own Apostle, 
And disavow his tongue ; — should let our soldier 
Stand i' the gap, then hang upon the arm 
That strikes for us. Methinks, my Lord of London, 
My ear infbrms me that thy pleasant church 
Invites our presence. 


Scene III. — Interior of the Church. Parties as 
before. Monks, due. chanting. 

'* Like the precious ointment shed 
Upon Aaron's holy head, 
Beard and sweeping garments dy'd 
In the sanctifying tide ; 

" Like the dews of Hermon falling 
Back to life dead Nature calling, 
So should brethren live, and so 
Streams of Love in fraorance flow." 


Enter a muffled figure, who gives the Bishop of London 
a letter, and flies. 

LONDON (reading). 
What's this 1 " The humble Priest of Canterbury 
Unto " — What have we 1 " Roger — York — Arch- 
bishop — 
In name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 
And of our Lady, ever bless'd and Virgin, 
And by the merits of the Angelic host, 
Cursed be — " Ah ! what are ye looking at ? 
On with the chanting ! 

[CJhant, " So let brethren dwell, and so — " 


That lyiug music ! stop it ! — love with him ! 
Suspended ! Where's the wretch who brought this 

missive ? 
What think ye, heads of Israel ? 


Think, my Lord 1 
We'd answer better, if we knew what shakes 
Thy holy calm. 


May't please your Grace of York, 
Thou art put out, quench'd, buried, swept away 
From off the soil; cast in a corner-heap, 
That passers-by shall turn their face away, 
And hold their nostrils, lest the smallest sense 
Be tainted by a thing so foul ! 


I ! what ? 


I say, thou'i-t doubly curs'd — that thou must live 
To look on thy own death — that things of earth 
Shrink from thee, and the gi-avc-pit shuts its jaws 
Against the excommunicated man. 



Me ! Who hath dared—? 


Thy brother ! he who seeks 
The good of his own order — the good Becket ! 
Our Church's champion ! 


And thyself, my Lord? 


He hath suspended. Closer in, my Lords. 
What! do ye think we can conceal this matter? 
Why did ye stop the chanting? 


'Tis too late ; 
The eyes of all are slanted here ; they scan 
The trouble of our motions. Thoughts of evil 
Are in their generation wondrous quick 
To reach conclusions. 


Holy Winchester ! 
What thinkest thou of thy Archbishop now ? 


'Tis rashly done. 



Rash ! by tlae Lord I serve, 
If this rash Primate seeks for martyrdom, 
And a new cross will make another saint, 
I'll help him with a nail. My Lord of York, 
When thy stunn'd sense hath gotten life again, 
Thou must to Henry. Becket treads us down 
To lowest earth ; we'll see the better there 
To trip him where he stands ! 

Scene IV. — Sea-shore of Wissant (Coast of France J. 

Becket. Edward Grim. 

Who sides with us ? The very elements 
Make war on Becket. The contemptuous wind 
Puffs out its cheeks in rude opposing breath, 
On tlie lost shepherd who would seek his flock. 
Am I the Lord's anointed? 


Holy Father ! 
Second to none, if not to him who sits 
As Peter's self. 




And cannot I command 
These rebel waves to carry me to England 1 


Wouldst thou 'twere giv'n to thee, this mighty power? 


No, not to man; and least of men to me, 

The weakest of my brethren. Where were then 

(Had I authority o'er Nature's forms) 

The exact return of seasonable things 

To their appointment ? — the unforced conclusion 

To the unobtrusive means 1 — that calm clear order 

Which the hot hand of passion never shakes, 

Nor jealousy can foul ? 


Yet, Holy Father, 
Much hast thou struggled with the angry workings 
Of a more difficult sea ; a storm-tost bark, 
Beaten from Kome to France, from France to England; 
While they whose kindred duties pledged their hands 
To aid thee at the helm, or curb'd by fear^ 
Or urged by baser hope of gain, withhold 
The cunning of their ofl&ce — yet, how long 1 



What if I thought that I alone was left 

To fight the fight of Heaven? What, if I said, 

" I have been very jealous for my God, 

And if I fall on the contending soil, 

Who then will raise the war-cry? " Impious fool ! 

Hath the Lord God of Hosts such need of help 

That he must list a soldier like myself ? 

Can He not summon myriads of arm'd pow'rs 

To shake the stone-ribb'd earth who ne'er have served 

Beneath the flag of Baal ? Fool— ay, fool ! 

What can the mote that dances in the beam 

(Seen only then) or hasten or inhibit 

The chariot of the sun 1 


The sun is single ; 
The earth hath lesser stars than him, and these 
Have paled before thee— ay, and yet shall blink, 
Confronted with the master-light that clothes 
Thy pei'son and thy office. 


Faithful friend ! 
This may not be — the sun is setting, Grim. 
Seek out another leader ; — soon shall I 


Be none to thee, or any man. Alas ! 

What have I been to thee — to all who loved me 1 (''^ 

My life is hke a garment, once of price, 

But patch'd with colours, whose complexion shocks 

The sense of harmony. Heaven's minister — 

Rejected of the earth. Primate of England — 

An exile from its dwellings. Clothed with power, 

As Legate of the Vatican, to hurl 

Its fires before the hopeless sinner's feet, 

And open there an isolating gulf 

His kindred dare not pass, while God's own face 

Ts muffled to his desperate vision ! — I, 

Gifted like this, when my aid stands in service 

Of some weak sitter on a throne of earth, 

Am fed and fairly spoken, as an arm 

To work some state macliinery. This done, 

I too am done with, and the prince who rules 

O'er mortal bodies, when his end is earn'd, 

Can spurn at him who sequestrates a soul ! 

Yet this is my deserving. I have trod 

The fold of Christ, with foot that rather sought 

To mount o'er men, than to draw near to God. 

When, on the battle-ground of Crown and Church, 

Some little inch was fought for, I opposed 


The proud reluctance of an earthly will, 

And phrased it, " zeal for Heav'n ! " — and I rxm 

'Tis well — yet not much longer ; I can see 
One who will end all struggles, and remove 
This burden from my spirit. 


Who is that ? 


Death ! 


Death, my gracious Lord ! Why fear'st thou this 1 

BECKET {starting). 
What saidst thou 1 Fear I Insulting priest ! — nay, 

I err — thou didst not mean it. [Sj^eaJcing in a low tone. 

Friend, behold 
Yon gloomy sea, whose wild waves seem at war 
With the black sky. {The?/ cannot hurt each other — 
That is the privilege of reasoning man.) 
It hath a sour look ; yet what, think'st thou, care 
The hearts that sleep beneatli it, in the calm 
Of its deep chambers? So, the sounding shocks 


Of the world's conflict reach not to the gi-ave. 

How often memory's stern recording pen 

Blots from life's page the poetry of hope ! 

My mother dreamt — (my mother came from Moab — 

My sire of Israel '^^ — 'twas a double line. 

I noted it — 'twas folly — but 'tis past) — 

She dreamt one morning that she saw my nurse 

Try wdth full hands to spread the coverlet 

Above my infant limbs ; it was too large 

To unfold it in the room ; she took it out 

Into the pleasance : still it stretch'd and stretch'd. 

Beyond the boundaries ; and fold gi'ew on fold, 

Till the great cloth might wrap a kingdom. I 

Had faith in dreams — the di'eams have fled, and soon 

'Twill be an easy task for weakest hands 

To spread another covering than that 

O'er all that's left of Becket. 

[Muses, and then with animation. 
Ha ! not so. 
I'll have a greater burial in the minds 
Of coming Europe. From far land to laud, 
From top to top of each cathedral tow'r, 
I'll hang my name and fame up, as a curtain 
To hide the sun from kings ! — Whom have we here ? 


Enter Dean of Boulogne. 
'Tis «o^ the pilot ! would it were — oh! would 
Thy voice cried " Fair for Eugland ! " 


'Tis not fair ; 
Not now, nor ever will be, so I fear, 
While the Second Henry reigns. My reverend Lord, 
I am no pilot ; or at least am one 
To steer thee frovi that shore : 'tis rough with danger, 


There is no peril where there's love ; the coast 
Will spread its arms to its returning child. 


Not so its other children. It is lined 
With men who watch for thee, but not from love. 
Hatred hath shaped its plans, which only wait 
Thy coming, to be handled. 


'Tis in vain. 
Seven years the flock awaits its shepherd ; none 
Shall stay me now. Have T not bent enough 1 
Fools ! did they think I could not rise ? Will Heav'n, 
That holds its servant's garments from the hand 


Of rotting Time, that keeps his sandals fresh 
Beneath the tread of exile, let his spirit 
Be wasted by oppression 1 


Holy Sir ! 
I am the Priest of the poor Church of Boulogne. 
My lord the Count hath sent me to restrain 
This perilous voyage, that the needy earth 
Lose not so gxeat a saint. 


'Twill have a greater, 
If what thou fear'st be ratified. 


My Lord ! 
If not for thine, yet for the sake — 


Enough ! 
Time dies in talking. Think ye not I know 
All ye would urge ? —the excellent good reasons 
For wise delay — a cause in danger calling 
For caution to — Great Heav'n ! I'm sick of caution ; 
I'm sick to death. Nought stays me but the arm 
Of Him who strove with Israel. Hear me, sirs : 
Who am 1 1 England's Primate I Where am I ? 


Whose is my livery, that a tinsel Prince, 
Whom the hour raises or casts down, shall say 
" Thus, and no further shalt thou go " — to me, 

hose breath can blight the hearts and hopes of all, 
Who sleep hard-couch'd in some uneasy nook, 
Or curtain'd round with crimson ! Shall it be 
That coming men shall read th' historic sneer, 
How Becket shook when Henry threaten'd him 1 
'Twould stir the dry bones in my gi'ave ! Good Fathei', 
Thanks to thy master. We are bound for England. 
I have had letters from our Lord the Pope. 
Thei'e's lightning in them ; shall / fear, or he, 
When those chain'd curses, fork'd with fire, are loos'd. 
And hurl'd at the prelatial head of York ? 
Come, sirs, away ! We wait no weather now. 
No wind blows contrary to a gi'eat resolve. 
Where's John of Salisbury ] 


Scene V. — Normandy. Banquet-room of Palace. 

Henry II., Lords, Reginald Fitzurse, Richard Brito 
and Hugh de Moreville. 

Brave knights, we've sung and feasted — I do hope 
That my most loyal subjects there in England 
Are merry as ourselves. How went that catch 
You troll' d, my Lord ? 


" I am the wine-cup ; I, at least, 
Am royal and holy, as prince and priest, 
For, to kiss my lips, alike bend down 
The head tliat's shaven, or wears a crown ! " 


Tnie, that the prince and priest have drunk together 
At the same board. I fear me now a cup 
That could embosom the broad seas that part 
These shores from England, were not large enough 
For one ambitious draught. Brave sirs again ! 
We have been merry. Heav'n demands the thanks 
We'll pay by gladdening others. Where's the woman 
Who came to us for justice 1 Call her here. 



What ! now, Sire 1 


Wherefore not 1 


I merely thought — 
The place — the time — 


And what are they to me 1 
I have an ear at all times for my subjects, 
And I suppose can use it in this place 
As well as any other. Call her in. 

[Exit Lord. 
Enter William of Pavla. 


May't please your Highness I as I enter'd here 
There stood a man wnthout, who earnestly 
Craves audience for his daughter and himself. 


Doth not the daughter crave it too 1 Admit them. 

Enter Agnes and Father. 
Your names 1 What want ye 1 


May it please yoiu' Grace, 


The cause that first gave bii'th unto my wants 
Should veil my name. I fear disgrace hath stol'n 
The honour of my house ; and, 'stead of show'ring 
Blessings of Heav'n from his commission'd palm, 
That a priest's hand hath filch'd it. 


Not quite clear. 
Speak out, man ! 


Sire ! my daughter Agnes here 
Hath been betroth'd to one of thy own suite — 
William de Tracy ; and she now refuses. 
Nor deigns a reason why, to consummate 
Her faith in wedlock. 


Lady ! is this so 1 


It is, my Lord. 


And thou hast ceased to love 
William de Tracy 1 


Not SO, please your Grace. 
Love 's in my heart, but conscience checks the feeling 


From blossoming to fruit. — What can I say '? 


Act ! Wilt thon marry ? Silence gives denial ! 
Wilt not thon favour me, thy lord and king, 
Whose eye, in scanning the broad general weal, 
Must pry in private corners, with one reason, 
A few short whisper'd words, of what it is 
Hath led thy conscience to mislead thy love ? 


Great Monarch ! bid me die, to guarantee 
The smallest hair upon thy royal brow 
From the assault of the rebellious wind. 
And willingly I'd place my head in pawn ; 
But, for my own poor life, oh ! urge me not 
To pay the price of a ne'er-dying shame ! 


'Tis from concealment that suspicion draws 

Its largest funds of shame. Then speak ! this silence 

Says that an cnexxiy hath garrison'd 

The heart, by right De Tracy's. 


Not the heart ! 


Well i all at least that makes a heart worth having. 



My Lord ! I will not spare what force can do — 


Nay, friend, thou'rt wrong. Thou knowest not thy 

So well as I do. 'Tis thy creed, mayhap. 
That the resolved spirit is but found 
In a man's breast, and girded round with mail. 
Thou'rt wrong ! Behind the azure of those eyes 
There lies the colour of another temper, 
That would permit the rudest tool to break 
The blue-vein'd marble of her dainty limbs. 
But not a fragment there would find a tongue ! 
No, no ; her lip's confession must be drawn 
By other charming. [He takes the Father apart. 

Thou dost know the Priest, 
His name, that is, whose hidden pow'r hath work'd 
This graceless miracle ? That name's not — Becket ? 


I know him ; 'tis not Becket : yet the Primate 
Hath dragg'd the culprit (so we understand. 
By letters sent fi-om France) to punishment 
Within the pale of his authority 


From reach of Civil Law — as is his wont — 
And much I fear — 


Of course ; enough of this ! 
As is his wont ! By Heav'n, we'll di-ag him forth ! 
Authority ! That pale is high indeed, 
In English land, the hand of England's King 
Can't overreach. What 1 'Tis enough, I say ; , 
I'll hear no more. Admit the other woman. 

[Exeunt Agnes and Father ; and after them 
William of Pavia. 
Enter Matilda. 
Thy name 1 


Matilda Rohan. 


'Tis a good one. 
{Aside.) She's had good looks, nor lost them yet. I fancy 
She's justice on her side. {Aloud.) Lady, thy wish'? 


Unto whom speak I ? 


Know'st thou not a King, 
When thou dost sec him 1 



No ! I know but one, 
See but one face — 'tis therefore I have sought 
Unto my lord the King, that by his pow'r 
He'll chase it from me. 


What is that ? 


The face 
That will not let me rest when I am wearv, 
That will not let me pray as I was wont, 
But when I think for good, it comes in front, 
And with the pow'r of its deep eyes — ! say, 
My Lord, what think'st thou is the fairest colour 
For a man's eyes ? And then, I would not care 
If they shone kindly, or in auger even ; 
The life in them might light a life in me ! 
But they've a dark still look ; and on the lips 
There is a constant curl — that — ! my Lord, 
'Tis hard to bear ! Do hearts grow really cold, 
Or is't a minstrel's phrase % They say that thine 
Was ever kind to woman. Grant me right. 


Would that I could ! 



A.nd art thou not a king 1 
Why should I be tormented ? That cold face ! 
I gather'd up the sunbeams one hot day, 
And cast them at it ; but it grew not warm. 
And once I ran to where the rainbow rested 
Upon the earth, and fiU'd my hand with colour, 
And spread it o'er that haughty countenance ; 
But the hues gather'd to its lips, and made 
Their sneer more temble. 


Poor thing ! thy mind 
Is touch'd — 


But touch'd, my lord the King ! but touch'd. 
Would it were crush'd ; destruction would be peace. 
Oh ! I have sat and sat, and tried if thought 
Could kill out reason — but it woiJd not die. 
Dragging its sore life like a bruised worm. 
I am half mad in some things, so they say. 
But not in this ; for when I lift my eyes, 
I see — but no, I will not do it now. ! 


Who hath done this 1 Whose is that face thou talk'st of? 



I'll whisper thee his name ; and thou shalt see 
What I do — thou canst see it too. Alas ! 
There was another — had I heard hut him ! 
He snatch'd me from the peril j set my feet 
In a safe place ; and with mild words of pow'r. 
So warn'd and warm'd my spirit, that it felt 
Half holy as his own. Alas ! he went, 
And then it froze to earth. 


His name, good Lady? 


His name was — yet men say that thou, my Lord, 
Dost love him not — his name was — pardon me, 
Thomas a Becket ! 


Thomas Becket ! 

\Wal1cs aside, then returns. 
He is a priest ; thy lover was not one. 


He is not. 


Nay — I knew it : else that monk 


Had sided with his order. {Speaking loiv.) Virtue takes 

Its colour from the men who practise it, 

And fair repute makes fair opinion. Strange ! 

Bad actions done by good men do partake 

More of their goodness, than the men are soil'd 

By their own evil deeds. The light that's cast 

On an immaculate cathedral shines 

All whitely pure, while the same beam's a shadow 

Reflected from a throne ! (Alotcd.) Yet in this instance 

He did right well ; and I could love him. 


Love him, 
My Lord ! Oh, love him ! — who is worthier 
To fill a monarch's heart 1 


His head would fill 
A monarch's crown, if so it chanced that England 
Could bear two masters. I, indeed, would hold 
Him equal to myself, whom in days past 
More than that self T prized. Oh! Becket, Becket ! 
Couldst thou but let me love thee ! That proud 

Won't turn aside to see where stands a king 
Sueing to be a friend ! 


[Enter hastily Archbishop of York, followed hj 
William of Pavia. 

What do'st thou here, 
My lord of York 1 


Nor York, nor England's self 
Can coexist with Canterbury. Sire ! 
He rides the land as if it were a palfrey 
To carry him to Rome. From place to place 
Shouts of arm'd men proclaim his pride, and threaten 
With their strain'd voice destruction on each head 
That's higher than his own ! 


Whom meanest thou ? 


Thomas a Becket ! 

That man again ! 


By the eyes of God ! 


Again and ever. Sire ; 
When will that breath be bated, which hath dared 
To excommunicate myself for crowning 
Thy son, the King ? 



I'll hear no more. 

" YORK, 

My Lord ; 
There is no pleasure now but Becket's will — 
There is no Church in England now but Becket ; 
There is no King — 


Peace, I tell thee, peace ! 
Dost think to choke me with that name 1 By heav'n ! 
It were not sacrilege to tear thy tongue out, 
Croaking that cursed strain ! — still only Becket — 
Becket ! Where's Henry ? — those base knights ! Fve 

fed them 
Till their fat gratitude can't rise from table 
To rid their monarch of a beggar- monk 
His bounty set on horseback ! 

[He u'alks about and returns, during which, exeunt 
Moreville, Fitzurse, and Brito. 

That coward rabble ! 
I slaved to make them free. I might have clench'd 
Their collars tighter. Had I done it, then — 
Are ye too traitors 1 Speak ! ■ 



My Lord ! 


Thou liest I 
I am not thine, uor any man's ! 

[ Walls ahotU angrily ; returns, and sees Matilda. 

Poor thing ! 
I'm madder than thyself. Thou too dost know 
What 'tis to trust. There — let me look on thee ; 
So — so ; I'm calmer. 

Now, my good lord of York, here is a man 
Who kicks at laws and lawgivers ; who curses 
Kings when they block his path, and strives to nail 
The ears of England to the doors of Rome-. 
How can this breeder of a pestilence 
Retain the fatal pow'r and place bestow'd 
In a repented moment 1 


Good my Lord \ 
The holy oil, though pour'd on graceless limbs. 
Still smells of its original Heav'n. Behold ! 
An earnest here of the divinity 
That dwells in us, and in our faith, and claims 
For all who share that sanctifying service. 


Though faithless found, what worldly men would call 
Unreasoning reverence. To lose this would be 
A waste of Deity. ' 


Be it so — give me 
Something that is less holy — I will have it ! 
Said not that Papal agent to myself (^' 
That he'd absolve the names which I submitted, 
From Becket's censure ? Said he not besides, 
These foreign thunders should be hurl'd no more 
At English head, without my royal knowledge 1 


He did, Sire. 


And this more than regal Rome 
Spreads its divine original, thou wouldst say, 
Over its earthly deeds — they need a covering ! 
Yet 'tis a strange ambition that pretends 
The indefeasible sanctity of a lie ! 
Ha ! by — but come ; we will consult on this 
Ere my wrath rises. [Looking around.) But, I see 

them not ! 
Fitzurse, and Moreville 1 



Sire ! they've left, and ta'eu 
Richard de Brito with tliem. 

MATILDA {starting forward). 

Who ? he here ! 
And gone — to England ! take me there ! My brain 
Is painted with the future. Oh ! my heart ! 

[Throwing up her arms. 
Archbishop ! it will reach thee ! Lord Archbishop, 
Beware the knife ! [She faints. 


What meaneth this 1 


Your Grace ! 
She is insensible. 


Away ; and summon 
De Castro to her aid. Then seek those knights, 
And tell them, when I wish them quit my presence 
That I myself can speak. The world shall find, 
Henry Plantagenet is yet a king. 


Scene VI. — Room, in Normandy. 
Agnes, William of Favia. 


Lady, I sent to see thee. Much I fear "'7 

That mischief is determiu'd on the head 

Of England's welfare. Such indeed he stands 

Before the eyes of all who look beyond 

The vale of life, to the high mountain-tops 

That sun themselves in Heaven ; of such art thou ! 


Ml/ eyes, my Lord, are oftener wcigh'd down 
To the cold earth, by a dispiriting sense 
Of my own sins. 


They are forgiven thee ! 
Look up in peace, my child. Thou know'st a Becket, 
That lamp of the true faith 1 


All know a Becket. 
The mind is dark indeed, on which hath stream'd 
No ray from that intelligence. 



No doubt. 
'Twere pity such a form (you know his person ?) 
— Setting aside the Church's greater loss 
In such a loss as him — should be defaced 
By the rude carving of the assassin's knife ! 
How well the frame of such a presence shrines 
His many-tinted mind ! 'Twould grieve thee, doubtless, 
Were such a noble piece of nature marr'd. 
And thou wouldst save it 1 


Certainly, my Lord ; 
I'd save the man from harm, as I would save 
A fellow -being ; but I'd strain my life 
To keep such night from our religious land, 
As would fall down upon all eyes and hearts 
When sets the sun of Becket ! 

WILLIAM (aside). 

Is it so 1 
A broad-cast feeling, not allied to love 1 
{Aloud.) Thou'rt right, my daughter. 'Tis a fitting 

To work with, unto good. I said the Primate 
Stands in much danger from some certain knights 


Who quitted, with an ill-betokening haste 
King Henry's side. Thy lover is not of them. 
We'll keep him here. Now I would know of thee 
The shape and bent of his peculiar mind. 
Firm ? jealous 1 resolute 1 giv'n to revenge 1 
Of course he's valiant : 'tis a common virtue, 
At least in knighthood. 


Thou dost mean De Tracy ? 
He's brave as Hemy : fitly primed to catch 
Each spark of insult, 'till the man grows fire. 


And with a steadfast and strong head to knit 
The plannings of a purpose 1 


Yes, my Lord. 
But wherefore ask me 1 


We must know the risk 
To find the obvious guard. A man like him 
Must be held back from this conspiracy 
By such restraints as chafe his soid the least. 
— I do not wonder that thy face, my child, 


Could draw a Priest's devotion from the skies, 
And fix it there ! 


My Lord ! 


'Twas natural — 
Though not to be forgiven ! yet had I 
Been ever led from the straight line of right 
By light from woman's eyes, 'twere such as looks 
From thine, my daughter ! 


If I've sinn'd, it rests 
Between my God, and — 


Him who hath confess'd thee ! 
I told thee thou'rt forgiven. Dost thou think 
There is a weight so heavy, which the hands 
Of them who wield God's mercy or His wrath 
Can't lift from off thy conscience 1 Now, suppose 
That / should bend upon that blooming face 
A look of earthly love, and haply read 
An answer there not heralded by frowns ; 
Deem'st thou, fair casuist, that the man who stands 
At the right hand of Peter's delegate, 


Could find no spiritual chemistry 
To blanch the reddest stain 1 


Lord Cardinal ! 
What doth this quick ungracious language mean 
From sacred lips 1 I would not think that thou 
Art angling with thy pious art in hopes 
That my light taste may rise up to the surface 
At the first bait which Pleasure throws for it ! 
Such I am not ! 


No, lady ! (Nor is this 
The time for such things.) I but cast these hints 
Before the mirror of thy soul to see 
How they would look reflected thence. I feel 
Thou canst be trusted. Virtue never fails 
To hold regard, though beauty loses love 
Ere 'tis well caught. Remain here for awhile. 
I'll pen a line which thou slialt take to England. 
'Twill sei-ve the Church — would it were ever served 
By such a messenger ! . [Exit. 


Stay here awhile ! 
For what? I doubt that holy Cardinal. 


I'll seek my father — ^yet my father's arms 
Yield no kind refuge. Serve the Church indeed ! 
If I had served it less — woman ! woman ! 
Poor thing of wasting contrast ; weak as water, 
Or nerved with iron ; pure as angel, black 
As very fiend ; toy, mistress, tool, and queen, 
Deceiver and deceived. There are none by : 
I will display my sin's complexion here 
To my own soul, and the absolving spirit 
That fills the living air ! Misled, I listen'd 
To words that — hark ! there is an armed tread — 
I must away. 

Enter William de Tracy. 
Thou here ! What brings De Tracy- 


Unto a place where Agnes is ! But what 

Brings Agnes, where she scarce could hope to meet 

De Tracy at this holy Cardinal's 1 


If he be holy, I at least am not, 

And therefore should we meet. I seek the Church 

From love of it, and hatred of myself. 



The love I've heard of. Agnes ! would my ears 
Were disencumber'd of that heavy tale 
By thy denying tongue ! Oh, Agnes^ listen, 
If yet thou lov'st me ! Thou didst find me first 
A man of war, and such as warriors are, 
Heart-harden'd to without, like shirt of steel 
That answers not when foemen knock for entry. 
What made me feel 1 Thy love ! That cleft my breast 
In gaping fissures, that the dews of heaven 
Might make then- dwelling in that barren ground ! 
Think, Agnes, that the wounds of such a spirit 
Have rugged lips for closing — Dost thou love me ? 


William ! I do. 


Then tell me in one word. 
That it is false, the tale thy father brings, 
And in one action give me heart and hand ! 


Oh ! William, not to thee ! Oh, never, never ! 
I will not wrong thee with a gift the which 
Thou, the proud Baron, might — might — 



This is torture ! 
Tell me, what hast thou done. I have a right, 
My Agnes ! 


Oh ! alas, not that ! — Stay — stay, De Tracy, 
My temper's quick as thine. Think not I'm happy. 
Ah ! I have sat, and woke ; and thought of thee 
With smiles and tears ; the smiles — how faint and few ! 
"Were for the past ; and the deep drowning tears, 
For the long bitter future. 'Tis enough, 
If punishment can cleanse a sinful mind. 
To have foregone all sense of joy, which guilt 
Could hope, or virtue gain. Oh ! spare me more. 


Agnes ! I'll have it. 




The name of him 
Who hath wrong'd me, and rased thy happiness. 


I breathe no name — I never talk'd of wrong. 



But I do ! I will have it. Wherefore hide 
This secret in thy breast, and baulk revenge 1 


Revenge, De Tracy ! 


What thou wilt ! Revenge, 
Or justice — 'tis no matter. Speak ! — 


De Tracy! 
There is a hidden pow'r that even holds 
The tongue of woman : there are sealed thoughts 
That open but to Heav'n. Thou dost believe 
In God, and in his visible ministry ? ^ 


Too often visible ; too often seen 
In such a motley clothing, as would shame 
The merest soldier who e'er swore by day 
Or pass'd his nights in — 


Tracy ! Thou'rt a man 


Ay ! and a fierce one, that would batter down 



The topmost crowii from brow of Pope who dared 
To foul the thing he lo"ved. 


Thou'rt hasty ! 


Woman I 
Not hastier than thyself. Thy breathless love 
Must have a taste of the unwholesome fruit 
Ere the Law ripen'd it. Why didst thou cast 
Thy pearl before that sacred swine 1 — and now 
Thou wouldst conceal, defeat — May the fiend plague 

Return unto thy mire ! — 


Sir ! — But I leave thee 
I did not think to hear a soldier's tongue 
Make war upon a lady ! 


Lady t 


I am so. Doubtless, we must tell such things 
To those whose nature hath no kindred sense 
Which might make feeling knowledge. Sir ! a woman 



Claims ever gentle treatment from the sex 
? Who hold aU pow'r, but use it scurvily 

When they woiJd tread on one whom her own shame 
Casts down — great God ! how low — Farewell. [Exit. 


Go! go! 
gods and devils ! would I had a man 
To cleave in twain. [^Stamjys about the roovi. 

Enter William of Pavia. 


Here, lady !— What? De Tracy ! 
Alone ! And where is she for whom I writ 
This missive unto England ? 


Would she were 
Where some kind fiend would pluck her foul-hued 

From her fair body. 


What is this, Sir Knight 1 
Thou dost not know her ! 


Know her ? 1 1 No — no — 
'Twere shame to know her. 



Thou art vex'd, De Tracy. 
Somethiug^hath ruffled thee. 


Mel Not the least! 
I'm cool as — may perdition seize — quite cool — 
Why should I not be cool 1 


I cannot say. 
Yet would I that the lady had not fled 
Ere she had ta'en my letter to the Primate ; 
For in her keeping, as she kindly said, 
It would not miss the mark. 


What Primate? wherefore? 


What Primate ? Oh ! k Becket. Some three knights 
Have left the king, who, much we fear, are bent 
To do his Lordship hurt. 


They have! And she? 


Of course would save him, for she loves the Archbishop. 



Loves him 1 


Of course, again. Wlio doth not love 
That holy man 1 With what a presence too 
For woman's eye ! She only shares in this 
The general heart of all, that like a garment 
In warm affection girds his person roixnd. 


Would that all Hell would gird it round with flames ! 


Sir Knight ! 


Sir Devil ! Well — I have it now- 
No time to lose. 


Yet wait awhile! 


I cannot. 


But one short word of why I sent for thee. 


Then quick, my Lord. 


Scene VII. — Near Canterbury Cathedral. 

Crowd, Ranulf de Broc,(^) Richard de Brito, Richard 
Blois with tlie Crowd. 


What do these here ? Who are they % 


Patients, waiting 
Their medicine patiently. 


And who the leech 1 


Thomas, the Primate of all England, Legate 
Of Peter's cousin ; him, who doubtless fisheth 
In his way, sitting on a hiU to throw 
His net with fuller fling. 


What meanest thou? 
That his high-priest (he'll soon be lower) deals 
In drugs and simples ? 


Not quite so — at least 
Not of the common sort ; the charms he uses 
Are the least anythings of vilest stuff, 


Which, when himself hath bless'd or handled, turn 
To veritable somethings, fondly hugg'd 
To the warm breast of faith. 


And he permits 
This holy trafl&c ? 


Well — how far I know not. 
But Power's an epicure that will not question 
The many little items that compound 
The flavour which it loves. Behold ! where comes 
The Archbishop's servant. Draw near — we may catch 
Some stray intelligence. 

\_Enter Tungstan. 


Here's Tungstan — Tungstan ! 
Welcome — and blessings on thy master ! 


Good countrymen ; and now for business. Which — 
Where is the man, John Sig^vulf, who has had 
An ulcer in his leg these twenty years 1 


Here, Master, here. 



There, friend, 's a bit of rag 
That hath been wrapp'd about the sacred leg 
Of the Archbishop's self ; lay this upon 
Thy ulcer. Thou hast had it thirty years, 
I think thou saidst 1 'Twill heal it if there's virtue — 


In an Archbishop's vermin ! They, at least, 
Turn'd out of hair and sackcloth, will but change 
Their quarters for the better. 


What, Sir, saidst thou? 


Oh ! nothing — nothing. Merely, that I wonder 
How such a holy man as the Lord Primate 
Hath any need of legs. 


Next, I've a charm 
For evil spirits ; 'tis a phial fiU'd 
With water, which the Primate — 


Gracious Heav'n ! 
Hast thou then made these lights of Israel 
Like other men 1 



Bless'd — which the Primate bless'd ; 
I Why interrupt me*? 


I mistook yom* meaning. 
Pardon, good master Tungstan. 


Heed him not. 
He is a graceless scoffer, known as such 
To all the country. 


Where is Thomas 1 — he 
Who sees the spirits 1 


Here, Sir ! 


Now, friend Thomas, 
What was the last like 1 


'Twas a moony night ; 
I woke, and heard a hissing in my room, 
And at my bed-foot stood what seem'd a most 
Enormous goose, and on its head a large 
Green — 



Night-cap with a tassel ! 


No, Sir, 'twas 
A plume of feathers. 


Oh ! Now, hadn't you 
A mirror (>o) on the wall just opposite 1 


I had ; and have it. 


Ah ! I see ; but then 
You don't wear plumes of feathers. Probably 
The goose was green, and not the feathers, Thomas ! 
And, doubtless, very large. 


Some drops of this. 
Sprinkled about the room, will scare each devil 
Who ventures there from Hell, 


I'm very old, Sir ; 
I cannot tell you why, but so it is. 
My sight and hearing are not half so good 


As forty years ago. If you've a cure 
For this, I'd thank you. 


Well ; I quite forgot — 
I scarcely know if the Archbishop's pow'r 
Can reach so far. 


No harm in trying it. 
And if it fails — why, then I'll teU you ; — boil him 
In woman's milk ! I warrant you his flesh 
Will turn as soft as any sucking child's. 
We've many poor men here, Sir ; could you not 
Give each a shred of the Archbishop's purse 
When he was Chancellor ? 


Your jokes are rude, friend ! 
My master's purse was open unto all 
Who had a want or wish. 


'Tis tnie ; and greater 
Was the meek Chiu-chman's merit, who, discharging 
His private feeling when he serv'd the public. 
Practised that painful generosity 
Which spends from a friend's pocket^"' — better far 


Than these cheap scraps and rags of sanctity ! 


Friends ! Are you pleas'd to hear these insults daub'd 
On om- rehgion ? 


We'll not suffer it. 
Off with him ! 


Patience for awhile, my friends ! 
Here is some earth on which the Primate's foot 
Hath left its holy print ; it will enrich 
The baiTcnest soil — and where is Gerald Ulph, 
Whose wife hath never bless'd him with a child 1 — 
Here, friend's, a text of Scripture : 'tis an order 
To multiply, and so forth : and 'tis written 
By Becket's self Bind it about her waist 
For a full month, and then — 


What, Sir ! a month 1 
It seems a most unnecessary time. 
Why, there's good Father John ; I'll bet a mark 
Against a rosary — 


What dirt is this 


To throw upon (zod's servants 1 Who is pure 
As the Archbishop ? If thou know'st another 
I Like Becket, point him out ! Who leaves by night 
The warm indentm-e of his curtain'd bed 
To lie o' the wintry floor 1 Who prays and fasts 
That angels weep to be outdone in Heaven 1 
Who thinks that water is too rich a draught 
For holy palates, and with bitter taste 
And noisome smell of daily herbs, compounds 
His golden goblet 1 Who's the friend of England ? 
Who 'neath the roof of the poor cottager 
Bends low the saci'ed head that strikes against 
The lintel of a palace ? 


Becket ! Becket ! 


He rules the Church ; and 'tis the Chiu-ch that rules 
The Lord who rules the vassal ! 


Saw ye not 
How his horse stumbled when he enter'd here 1 
It was a Norman beast, that. Who rides better 
Than the Archbishop ? 



Or, who 're better ridden 
Than you yourselves 1 I know not if this Becket 
Be one of England's sons ; but this I know, 
That he's the son of woman : see ye not 
When private ends grasp public instruments 1 
What matters it to you, if ye be serfs 
To a mail'd baron, or a man who wears 
A shirt of hair 1 The latter chain perhaps 
Is somewhat worse, in that the wily forger 
Takes care to numb the restive mind, which else 
Might strive to cast it off ! This Becket — 


We'll make thee change thy note ! 


We'll teach his tongue 
To rail against the Primate ! 


Richard Brito ! 
Let's save this fellow from these brainless bears — 
They'll hug him tight else. Maybe he'll assist us. 

[Throwing of his cloak. 
Off with you, ye base curs of Saxon breed ! 



Save your vile lives, if they be worth it — off ! 

[They drive away the crowd. 


Now, friend, for you. You kuow these latitudes ? — 
The quarters of the Archbishop, aud the rest 
Which join to the Cathedral 1 


Yes, I do. 


Then come with us. We must seek out Fitzurse. 
Where's Tracy 1 He and Moreville should have reach'd 
Saltwood ere this. 

Scene VIII. — Normandy, Palace. 
Henry II., William of Pavia, Otho. 


Two-pence in every pound, for one whole year," 2) 

Granted by England that her pious arms 

Be order'd well to rout the Infidel ! 

'Tis a small proof of the gi'cat love we bear 

Our mother church. 



No proof is needed, Sire. 
'Tis known the King of England yields to none 
In reverent love for Rome ; and will submit 
His wishes unto hers. 


Ay ! Is it so 1 
What wants the holy father ? 


Nothing more 
Than an unforced prolougment of the faith 
For which he's still your debtor. 


That apostate, 
The unsaintly Prince of Germany, hath ceased 
To cloud the thoughts of Rome, which can be giv'n 
More freely to fair England ; and the weal 
Of her obedient sons. 


Your Eminence 
Means, I presume, his grateful Holiness 
Has shaken off the long-encumbering weight 
Of Frederick Barbarossa ; and, no more 
Having the dangerous pretence of Victor' '^^ 


Before his sacred eyes, can now dispense 
With Henry, King of England ! 


Not so, Sire ! 
Whenever did the memory of Rome 
Omit to write on her enduring page 
The name of every friend — 


And every foe ! 
She recollects them, likewise ; and the friends 
Are press'd the closer to her prudent breast 
When her foes bluster near ! 


An' please your Grace 
To call to mind with what maternal care 
The eyes of Rome o'erlook the broad domains 
Of Catholic England,(>^) guarding while it sleeps 
The spirits of all flesh that harbours there ! 
Nor there alone — within the stormy bounds 
Of that famed isle — but where these distant shores 
Obey thy ample sceptre. Brittany, 
Anjou, Tourraine, and others, nearly half 
As large a realm as that which owns the sway 
Of saintly Louis, craves the watchful love 



Of Rome, and has it ! 


Right, your Eminence ! 
' Tis well to mind me that the fretful sea. 
Which will not always hear my call, divides 
My French inheritance from England ! This 
May rein my wrath in when it rides ahead ! 
Not much unlike, as if myself should plant 
Upon the quiet ground where Victor stood 
The threatening show of Pascal ! But enough— 
My business is that you uphold that rebel 
Against my sovereign power — that Lord Archbishop 
To lord it o'er his master. You absolved, 
In my own presence, and by word of mouth, 
The censures which he fulmin'd against York ; 
Yet, by the double dealing of the pen, 
Supplied an underhand authority 
To unsettle England, when it pleased the temper 
Of that belligerent priest. 


Your Royal Highness 
Is wise enough to see (who's wiser than 
Henry of England 1) that the absolution 
PronouncVl by mouth, concei'n'd the past alone. 


The letters granted by the Pope, contain'd 
The future in their scope ; and which the wisdom 
Of the Lord Pi-imate might divulge or not, 
As England needed. 


God's eyes ! Cardinal, 
Take my word for it, England shall be ruled 
By England's King — Who 's here 1 [Enter First Lord. 


May 't please your Grace ! 
The three good knights who left your royal presence 
With such unmannerly suddenness, men say, 
Have sail'd for England. 


After ! drag them back ! 
I fear that Brito and Fitzurse. 


The lady, 
Matilda Rohan raves incessantly, 
Craving quick passage there ; and weeps and cries, 
" Beware, my Lord, the knife ! My Lord Archbishop ! 
Beware the knife !" 


Take her along with thee, 


One of the three she knows. You have my order. 
Be quick, and do it. 

[Exit First Lord. 
By the light of Heav'n, 
Hath Henry none but traitors round his person ? 
Shall these, my own hired knaves, these common kestrils, 
Swoop at a falcon 1 'Tis a royal quaiTy, 
To be struck fairly — ha ! Lord Cardinals ! 
Rome, in her most considerate wisdom, thinks 
That she, the head, rules best when most misrule 
Pervades the members — 'tis a gentle mother 
To draw obedience from the childi'en's quarrels, 
Which her care lulls into a waking sleep ! 
This is your master's doing ! 


Ours ? We 've one ; 
Our Father, who 's in heaven ! 


And wondi'ously 
Ye honour the paternity ! — 'tis right ! 
Truly, the Pope's a servant to the servants 
Of — Tush ! hath England no more gold, my Lords, 
That ye 've no more devotion for its King ? 
Men, too, are mostly bribed to do what 's wrong ; 


Yet I must buy you to my ranks, to fight 
Against an upstart Priest, who would break down 
The step on which he mounted — who would stop, 
When he doth speak, the royal breath, which made 
The life which he misuses ! 


He withholds 
His hand's consent to what his soul rejects. 
That is, when call'd by thee to ratify 
The laws of man, Heaven's zealous servant adds 
The words which save the honour of his God — 


And of his order ! 


What herein doth Becket 
To be call'd sinner 1 


Call him what ye like ! 
And add, when first he sigu'd those articles 
With his full voice, which we advised drew out 
As the ancestral safeguards of the realm. 
That the arch-traitor sent his heart to Rome, 
To witness his lip's lie at Clarendon ! 



Those godless customs touch'd on holy ground, 
The Church's birth-land ; he who breathed consent 
To such a trespass, pass'd his pow'rs, and gave 
That which he could not give. 


A subject owes 
Allegiance to — 


His God before his King ! 


His God ! 


As speaking through the mortal lips 
Which He hath made his own ! 


The will of Heav'n, 
Strain'd through such throats as thine. Lord Cardinal, 
Would pipe to a strange tune ! I gave this man 
All that he has — 


Your Highness gave him land ; 
And liard cathecb-al walls ; and worldly coin : 
But the great spirit and the soul that make 


Infinity their field —the lofty faith, 
That stands on earth, yet lifts its head to Heav'n, 
And looks with shaded eyes into the secrets 
Of God's pavilion there — the priceless wealth 
Of blessing when and what he will (and, yea ! 
It shall be bless"d, and what he cnvses cursed, 
Or serf, or Csesar) — these thou gav'st not, Prince, 
And these thou canst not take ! 


Intrigiiing Priest ! 
Think not to reckon 'mid the slaves of Ptome, 
Henry of England ! Oh ! wovild Heav'n but grant 
That I could cast into my people's eyes 
Light from my own, in yoiir authority 
They 'd see a most foul monster, fed by fools 
To fatten knaves ! And yet the time will come, 
When English hands, led on by reasoning heads, 
Shall tear the veil from off the face of Rome, 
And show the harlot's grin ! And then, my lords, 
The native honesty of English hearts 
Will loathe it, as I now ! 


Yet present times, 
Empow'r his Holiness to interdict — 


HENRY (springing forward). 

God's eyes ! Lay England under interdict ! 
Shall T, who can raise ujj and dash to earth 
A castle fi'om its rocky roots — shall I — 
I — Henry — how I hate ye ! — shall I suffer 
Pope, prince, or living thing, to touch the name 
Of my dominions with his villanous breath ? 
Shall sandal, or arm'd heel, when I say nay, 
Indent the dust of England 1 — Come, we waste 
Our time with these men. Now, I hope in God 
I never more may see a Cardinal ! 

\_Exeunt Henry and attendants. 


My Lord ! methinks you let your language run 
A dangerous length. His Holiness the Pope 
Hath need of Henry. The world's scales are held 
By Alexander, who, to trim the balance, 
Puts princes for the weights. 


Beyond a doubt ! 
But I know Henry — we'll not lose him yet. 
Nor should Rome ever bend, but when she stoops 
To pick up some advantage : a knit brow. 


When there's no danger, will enhance the grace 
Of a few .smiles, whene'er occasion needs. 

[ Walks aside and returns. 
Canst thou not see that Becket's hours are number'd 1 
'Twill not be long ere we shall gain a martyi', 
And this hot king a thorn, to rake his flesh 
In such a festering sort, 'twill take to heal it 
A costly outlay of humility ! 


Those knights that left the presence of the king, 
Were three in number — what in nature ? 



Not resolute ; fierce-hearted, but not firm. 


Then will their purpose break like scatter'd foam 
Upon the rock of action ! 


No ! a fom-th 
Has follow'd them, I hear, who'll guide the wave — 
Break when it will, 'twill make a shipwreck first. 


Who's that ? 



I know not — some men say, De Tracy. 


Yet this Archbishop is a shining light, 
A tow'r of strength, like that of Lebanon, 
Which looks towards Damascus ! Such a life 
Will serve us — 

WILLIAM (speaking loiv). 
Less than such a death ! a Becket 
Is but a man, a wayward child of passion 
And idle whims ; with some rash notions too 
About his sacred office. Becket's self 
Is biit half Rome's, while Becket's memory 
Is hers, in whole ! 


But then— a violent death ! 
To see, and suffer such a thing to be, 
Does seem, I think, to war with — 


Well ? 


The Scriptures! 


The what, Lord Cardinal 1 


Scene IX. — Canterhury. The Archhishoj) s Quarters, 
adjoining the Cathedral. 

Bechet, John of Salishury, Peter of Nismes. 

BECKET {to Pete?'). 
Lettei-s from William of Pavia, hast thou ? 

What says his Emiueuce 1 



He doth rejoice 
That England, which so long a time lay dead 
In sin and trespass, hath regain'd the heart 
Of all its spiritual life, whose healthy blood 
Will chafe the shores of each minutest vein 
In unison with — 


Rome ; which doubtless sufFer'd 
The carcass of the land, these seven long years, 
To lie without its Head of Canterbury ; 
That when it rose, recall'd to second life. 
And by a second author, it might make 
The greater miracle ! What further. Sir, 
Is the good Cardinal pleased to say 1 



He dwells 
Upon your Lordship's single excellence — 
A glorious pillar of the Catholic Church, 
Based upon Truth, and springing up through Time, 
To hide its head with God ! To Him he prays, 
That it may please His wisdom to protect 
So dear a life, within whose mortal folds 
Lies wrappVl up a great cause ! 


He's veiy kind. 


Vex'd by such thoughts as these, he would suggest 
That 'twere but wise to smooth the ruffled King. 
And, touching those broad lands which he hath 

From Mother Church, to feed the sinewy Barons 
Who prop his throne up — if the claim were waived — 
'Twould blunt the foi'e-set edge of danger. 


Well ! 
What doth he write beside ? 


His Eminence 


Adds this advice, that, when the daring hand 
Of York's Archbishop, stretching to an act 
Which was thine own by ancient privilege, crown'd 
The younger King, it was a giievous wrong — 
But one to be forgiven, if thereby 
Your Lordship's foot might gain a surer hold 
On the revisited soil. 


What further 1 


But earnest wishes for your Lordship's good. 


Then bear my answer to Lord William. Tell him 
That I must think the world most fortunate 
That, when Tiberius Cjesar reign'd on earth. 
There were no Cardinals to fill the seat 
Of Pontius Pilate ; else had all mankind 
Mourn'd the lost good of the Redeeming Death. 
For, such the dangerous sense of justice lodged 
In the pure bosoms of that sacred conclave. 
They would have saved the sinless son of God, 
And crucified— Barabbas ! Fai-ewell, Sir. 

[^xit Peter. 


I've done with Cardinals ! Oh ! John, I'm sick. 
The Church's son oft beai's a losing heart 
When the head triumphs — triumphs over whom 1 
— O'er fellow-labourer in a fallow field, 
Where each defeat (as fancied worth is shown 
In worthless colours) leaves one hand the less 
To work for the Lord's harvest. But with me — 
Is it all right with me 1 Sad mystery ! 
Too oft Heav'n's soldier finds the sword of God, 
Transmitted down to him through earthly hands, 
Rusted by earthly error ; dews of Time, 
Heat-drops of passion, or the soil of self, 
Defile its edge— and then his fallible arm 
Strikes blindly forth, and multiplies the wrong. 
Oh ! might I drink more pure, in purer realms, 
This Gospel wine, which, quaff'd by mortal lips 
From mortal vessels, hath a double taint 
From what the goblet and the mouth impart ! 
How think'st thou, ancient friend ? 


What means my Lord 1 


To-morrow's sun must light thy steps to find 
Another Lord than Becket. His sure death 


Is settled by his foes ; and Becket's friends 
Should, with consenting joy, behold the crown 
Thus placed upon his life. 


My gracious master — 

Die! thou? 

I must. 



But wouldst thou ? 


John ! I would. 


Yet live to serve the Church ! 


My death may serve it. 
And my own fame too, if the time fits well. 
Who knows what wretched froth may yet arise 
From out this fretful sea 1 Wliat I have knit 
May be unravell'd to the scornful wind, 
By the irresolute shaking of the hand 
In some weak moment. 


With thy place, thy pow'r. 


Thy matchless intellect, thy vigorous years, 
With these before and for thee, from the past 
Hope tm-ns, and, pointing to the future, asks, 
" What yet hath Becket done 1 " 


This — I have stood 
Like a bare hill upon our coast, whose top 
Keeps up the light which dying suns shed there 
From hidden skies, the while its base repels 
The conspiration of tumultuous waves. 
Barren indeed of what men call delight 
Hath been my path since first I grasp'd the reins 
Of this high guidance, I may fall for good — 
I may not move for it, when they who stretch 
For the same goal beside me, clog the course 
With all the mire of their base natural earth. 
The great cause falters : it demands a victim, 
Whose death may fill its life with fresher blood. 
'Twill be a seemly sacrifice for one 
Who hath maintain'd 'gainst foe, and fatal friend, 
Th' inheritance, which, pass'd through many hands, 
Hath rous'd the energies of many souls, 
The honour of his order ! 



And of God 1 


I hope — but say T the man Becket knows not 
Th' ambition of his kind ? — No, no. The mind 
That wastes its thoughts in disentangling there 
The motives of each deed, must lose the pow'i* 
Which throws itself into the world of action 
With concentrated will. And is the master 
SerA'ed e'er the worse who gives his servant wages 
The other spends on his own pui'poses ? 
Still with no feign'd liumility I own 
My scantiness of duty — 


Think of that ! 
What ? Can the vassal say "Tims far I go" 
Before his Lord, and with self-satisfied mind 
Close up th' account 1 


Death terminates the bond, 
I do not tear it with my own hand. 


Nay ! 
But thou canst shun the fate that threatens. 




Never ! 
By the great Heav'n I've toil'd for. 


Much thou hast 
Toil'd for a Church that lends an eager hand 
To drag thee up the steps of pow'r ; but looks 
With chilling aspect on the Christian struggle, 
When the soul wi-estles with itself, and strives 
By faith and truth to keep the spirit down, 
And fit the man to rise ! 


Rome's policy 
Makes of the world, and all that therein is, 
A handle for its ends ; the minds of men ; 
Their various hearts ; their shifting vice and virtue ; 
All, all, are used by that great architect. 
And, shaped to purpose, do conspire to make 
One master-building. Why complain ? I ask. 
Do men withhold their reasoning lips from wine 
When the rich draught is cupp'd in base alloy ? 
Or must the appetite be slaked from gold 1 
If Heav'n hold forth a blessing to the world. 
Should the world grasp it not, because the gift 


Be somewhat soil'd in indirect transmission, 

Touch'd by the intermediate palm of man 1 

Work'd in Heav'n's hands, the ill of Rome becomes 

Attemper'd unto good, and lends itself 

To the upheaving of that glorious fabric 

Whose barrier-walls shut out the Pagan flood, 

And bleaker wilderness of unbelief ! 

Then, view our Church, the progeny of Time, 

Old and much-honour'd, whose vast dignity 

Will bhnd the eye that peers to find its specks. 

So, amid men, bad treads on good ; and yet 

The son of kings inherits majesty 

And claims subjection, though his personal life 

Be dash'd with error ; and it cannot be 

But that to large and noble families 

Is born a child or two, to magnify 

The honours of the stock. 


He should not die. 
Whose life has work to do. Thy country claims, 
To purify its social elements. 

More of those thoughts which mark'd thy earlier years. 
Than what the labours of thy after-ofl&ce 
Had leisure for. 



I understand thee, John ! 
If I have not bestow'd such wealth of mind 
As Heav'n hath lent, t' enrich my native land 
With general blessings, so that after-times 
Might gaze upon some stately charity, 
And cry, "■ This Becket founded ! " or might hug 
Some freedom to its breast, and say, " Thank Heav'n ! 
This do we owe to Becket," or might dwell 
With grateful fondness on the memory 
Of some defunct abuse, whose monster-death 
Came from the hand of Becket — I can feel 
That I have made a sacrifice of self. 
Of eveiy pow'r, or wish, or fear, or hope. 
To one great mission, unto which I knew 
My consecration — to maintain my watch 
Upon the Church's tow'i's, and save the honour 
Of a rewarding God ! 


Who best is served 
By serving men, wherein the labourer's soul 
Advances its own nature : the great God 
Fights his own battles — 



With the arm of men. 


Thy arm hath labour'd in the field which Time 
Hath hallow'd to thy effort ; thou mayst Hve : 
For shouldst thou fail, the consecrated work 
Bears merit in th' attempt, while — 


No, my friend ! 
Sick, as I said, with sense of weakness, startled 
By crowds of imaged possibilities, 
I fear my futui-e frailty may undo 
What the past chance hath done. 


I would have said, 
Thou dost not, in thy coux-se, run equal risk 
Of loss, nor losing earn'st an equal share 
Of the calm censure of the comine; world. 
As when a man outstrips his fellow-men 
In working for their weal, and leaves behind 
Their old ideas and halting knowledge, worsted, 
And therefore tumi'd to worse ; as doth his Grace 
Henry the King — 


BBCKET {quickly). 

The King ! why name the King 1 
Heav'ns ! thou dost make me think of life, to hurl 
Defiance at his pride. Bat no — I hope 
To crush him in my death-fall ! 


Pardon me ! 
I, even as thou knowst, have taken part 
With Becket against Henry ; now I'd side 
With Becket, 'gainst himself ! This should not be — 
To die — 


With hatred on my lips — thou'rt right ! 
Yet 'tis the system that I hate, which makes 
The its mouthpiece. 


Poor self-cheating this ! 
Who hates his neighbour as a clod of earth ? 
I^ot as the living fountain, whence arise 
The waters whose rude current contradicts 
The course himself would steer 1 


Well, well — I know — 
I feel myself unfit to live. 



And therefore 
Fitter to die 1 


Yes ! old, and faithful friend I 
To live, is to lie stretch'd upon the rack 
Of an uneasy mind ; to find men false, 
And Heav'n's arm slack to judgment. Highest things 
Will cloud the I'eason and the trust : belief 
Is thought, and thought too often doubt. To die, 
Is to seal up the good, and let the bad 
Be scatter'd into air. This sacrifice 
I seek not, nor avoid : yet would I make 
A willing offering, that my blood may temper 
The darkness of the past, while future suns 
Shall gild it into gold ! Thou dost remember 
The story of my mother 1 She was born 
Of a proud Saracen in Palestine, 
Who held my fiither captive ; yet she loved 
The Christian in his chains — she struck them off. 
And left her heart therein ! He went ; the land 
Of her nativity had lost its light 
When he was fled — she follow'd him ; her tongue 
Knew but two English words ; her loving zeal 


Spoke more thau language^ and with " London — 

London " 
On her poor Hps, she found her painful way 
To our great capital, and there her cry- 
Was chang'd to "Gilbert !" 'Twas enough ; Heav'n bore 
The simple word unto his ear, who took 
The dark-brow'd beauty to his home ! So I 
Yearn for another country. From the shore 
That saw my struggles into life, and since 
Hath seen the harder strife of reasoning years, 
I turn with earnest foot, and teach my lips 
Reiterate two only words of love, 
" God !" and the "Chiu:'ch !" — Come, there's a sound 



Would Heav'n that thou couldst fear ! 

Scene X. — The same Ajmrtment. 
a Becket. Grim. 


Three Knights without crave — rather, please your 

Demand an instant audience. 



Have they got 
Their weapons by their sides ? 


They have. 


Admit tliem ! 
\Exit Grim, and returns with Fitzurse, Be More- 
ville, and Brito. ('■'' They sit down, and 
remain silent. 


Well, Sirs ! Youi* mission seems a silent one ! 

What want your valovirs with a man of peace, 

Poor sei*vant of the Church of Canterbury 1 

Why speak ye not '? Or, are your thoughts too clumsy 

For words to be their clothier ? 


I, for one. 
Had rather act than talk !. 


Act then ! or go ! 
Ye waste my time thus. 


In the name of Henry, 
The King of England — 



A poor preface that 

To a petition ! 


We demand, if thou 
Who hast presumed to excommunicate 
Roger of York, wilt instantly absolve 
Him and the others, whom thy voice hath dared 
Suspend from office. 


WeU, Sirs ! What if I 
Dare further, and refuse. 


Thou wilt incur 
The anger of the King. 


Who chooses you 
As proxies of his wrath ! — Ye play your part 
But passing badly. I would fain feel angry. 
To compliment your mission and yourselves — 
'Tis a rude thing, contempt, for knights like you ! 
Such valiant men ! but what — yes, yes, Fitzurse ! 
I see you've got a sword ! 



What is thy answer ? 


Did I not give one 1 Talk'd ye not of Kings, 

And of commands, to me, to England's Primate, 

Who, in each matter that doth touch the Church, 

Within the gate of his obedient ears 

Admits but that whicli liath tlie pass of Rome. 

The King's commands ! Tlie King's commands to me 

In my dominion ! Ye are jesting, Sirs ! 


His hands have made thee wliat thou art ! 


His hands ! 
Made me ! Now, by the keys of Peter, Kniglit, 
You'll stir my temper ! — his bands ! — me ! — if so, 
Where did he find the draff and refuse which 
His fingers scraped up to form yon ? God made me ; 
He puts upon my head that sanctity 
Which, like the sunshine, dims the little lights 
Of crown or helmet. He doth keep my person 
Safe in the round of that authority 
Within whose ring of fire I stand, and laugh 
At knightly sword, or sceptre of a King ! 


Ay. He doth fill my voice, which, 'less ye bend 
For pity and for pardon, shall be hurl'd, 
Hot with the lightnings of indignant Rome, 
At you, and make j'ou — be it possible — 
More cursed than ye are ! 


Thou foul-mouth'd Priest ! 
'Twere right to strike thy tongue out where thou stand'st. 
We will not suffer — 


If it's right — then do it ! 
I am alone, unarm'd ; ye're knights, have swords. 
And can at least employ their brutal edge 
On women and on children, and on men 
Who won't resist I Fitzurse ! De Moreville ! Brito ! 
Bold knights ! I do defy ye ! Draw your weapons ! 
'Tis well — stand ; look me in the face — I front ye 
Each one ! Now — conscience in your eye, and right 
Be with your arm ! — strike ! — 'Tis so ! Half-paid .cut- 
throats ! 
Go back to Henry, and demand more hire 
Than he hath given ye as the price of blood ; 
Or, do ye deem that I ye threaten here ■ 
Am he who put unpriestly lance in rest. 


And broke the wond'ring cliivaliy of France 1 
Think ye I'm he, who, when Toulouse was breach'd, 
Rush'd with such onset as had swept away 
By the mere wind of its distracted path 
A Brito or Fitzurse 1 Nay, gentle heroes, 
I am a harmless Priest ! I have cast off 
Protective mail, and cbopp'd th' offending sword : 
Take courage now, and touch me ! Fll not move 
A finger to your hurt, not swerve once inch 
To let the murder pass. Ho ! double traitors 
To Church and King, ye fear it ! Poor assassins-^ 
Off ! Get yom- armour — case with comforting mail 
The palpitations of yoiu' tender hearts — 
Return ! Reseek this dangerous service — strain 
Each nerve to the great deed : ye'll find me here 
Unarm'd, and — silent ! willing to accept. 
As a full penance for a life of sins. 
The degradation of a death from you ! 

' \Tlie three Knights retire. 
They're gone — I must compose my sjjirit — ah I 
r would fall calmly. Never more these lips 
Must breathe a cm-se, or swell with wordy vvrath. 


Tney will return ! 



I told them to return. 


They'll slay thee, Master ! 




Then fly ! 


Grim ! Dost thou know me 1 


Oh ! alas, too well. 
Thou wilt call down destruction on the land 
By welcoming thine own. 


I tell thee. Grim, 
My fall is predetermin'd — I consent : 
But I will have it how I choose, and when. 
Yes ! I have shown these brainless mui'derers 
That their hired swords to my confronting will 
Lose opposition. I will share with Henry 
The pow'r of my own death. 



Best show that pow'r 
By shunning — 


What must come some time — perhaps 
Less fittingly. Not so. God and the Church ! 
God and the Church shall ring from every blow ; 
Each wound shall gape with the eternal words ; 
And every drop of blood become a stream 
To fertilize the soil which they define ! 


Thou talkedst of thy early years, when thou 
Didst lead a carnal life — yet longer live 
But to redeem it more ! 


I cast my sins 
Upon the altar of this sacrifice, 
And let the flaming compensation shine 
On the round earth, and mount to heav'n ! 


The people 
Love thee — why baulk their love 1 


Yes ! I have loved them, 


And lived as one of them ; too much perchance 
For those beneath me, whose minds crouch'd to mine. 
The highest were my brethren. 'Tis too late. 
Can death erase the instrument which love 
Writes on the long-retaining heart 1 My friend ! 
'Tis a mere vulgar and a painted fame 
That blooms but in the eye, nor leaves behind 
Some treasured scent of its remember'd good. 
Come, Grim ! Time passes by. Devotion blames 
These words that filch her dues. 

GKiM {aside). 

Oh ! were my words 
Like thine, thou might' st be urg'd — but 'tis in vain. 

Scene XI. — Same Aioartment. 
John of Salisbury. Grim. 


I tell thee. Grim, 'tis useless — but, my friend. 

Try — 'twill relieve thy mind — our great Archbishop's 

Is yet more royal than the King's. His course 

Is like those ocean-monsters, whose straight path 

Is terrible with pow'r, the while their limbs 

Do lack the capability to tiu-n. 



Shall I let in the woman 1 


An' thou wilt 
Let in a flood, 'twill bo the same. Our master 
Hath, too, his fortunate failing of resolve 
That listens to no charming, otherwise 
We fools might worship the unsainted saint 
Without the leave of Rome. Yet try it, Grim. 
The broken utterance of a mind unhinged. 
And the meek voice of its pathetic look. 
May cure a case which wisdom quite gives up. 

[Exit Grim, and returns with Matilda. 


My Lord Archbishop Becket ! Oh, my Lord ! 
Beware the knife ! 

Enter a Bechet. 


Poor thing ! Thou here, Matilda ! 
What wantest thou 1 


What only thou canst give. 
I have a message unto thee, my Lord ! 
Let's think — Who gave it mc 1 — it is no matter — 



1 tell thee thou must fly : list ! in thine ear, 
H^s come ! 'tis fearful ! is it not, my Lord % 
I am not haunted now by that stern face, 
It hath left me, but thou must see it there 
Glaring at thee with its blood-seeking eyes. 
He has no pity — hush ! he has no pity. 


Could I do aught for thee before we part 1 
But thy mind wanders. Go in peace, Matilda. 


In peace ! What peace % I do not rave. Oh ! think not 
I'm mad — 'tis true, too true — this circumstance, 
This fearful time, hath stretch'd my brain imtil 
Reason perforce streams in. They've plann'd thy death ! 


I know it, Lady ; and among the plotters 
Is Richard Brito ! Lead her gently off, 
Grim, and be kind to her. 


I will not go, 
'TiU thou hast sworn upon the cross of God 
That thou wilt save thyself ! I heard him say 
That he could love thee — 'tis the King I mean. 


Why should ye quaxTel 1 If the sun and moon 
Contend in heav'n, what do the lesser lights 
But hold an useless office 1 I have yielded 
Much up to love — for what 1 To please one other, 
His vanity, or his pride ; and then, will ye, 
The forest-monarchs, when the winds of heav'n 
Pour from all quarters their constraining breath, 
Not bend to lace your separated boughs, 
Whose mighty shade would over-arch the sea, 
And let two kingdoms lie in peace below 1 


My poor Cassandra ! If I understand thee. 
Tie two such tops together, soon the trees 
Would burst all bonds to stand erect once more, 
Or cast their leaves off in the struggle ! Lo ! 
Rather than yield what I am forced to urge 
By Him that's greater than us both, this King 
Enti-usts the secret mission of his love 
To three assassins ! 'Tis a close regard. 
And modest too in its expression ! 


Lord Primate — no ! Heav'n gives my weaker mi ml 


To show the faults of thine. He, sent them not. 
Not Henry — no ! They come — 

\Noise heard without. 


'Tis true ! Now go — 
This is no place for thee — go, Lady ! 


Never ! 
Think'st thou a woman fears to look upon 
The sword she cannot handle ? But thy life 
Is not thine own ; thy faith, thy country — 


The one, for stifFering unto death ; the other — 
But I've done talking. Would my hour were come ! 


Yet go, my Lord ! I hear him — reason not ! 
Fly, as thou hadst a mother, one who kept 
Unchanging watch beside the little life 
That she had charge of ! Could she see thee now. 
Those limbs she lov'd, within the horrid reach 
Of that raised knife ; if she could speak — 



She'd say, 
That she at least had bred me to behave 
As ivill her husband's child ! 


Oh ! mau ; proud man ! 
Thou hast not loved — thou wouldst be soffcen'd else 
By tears, wouldst bend to sighs. Hadst thou a breast 
That ever beat for woman's, ever felt 
How sternest strength can feel a luxury 
In being conquer'd by a weaker will, 
Thou wouldst not stand with that relentless foot 
As if 'twere treading down the loving hearts 
That rise to lift thee hence ! 


Nay, vex me not ! 
What the past has been, Lady, doth not matter ; 
And for the present — why, I cannot see it 
While the great future's far-extending folds 
Do mantle it from vision ! 

[^Noise of battering heard near. 


Sir ! my Lord ! 
Fly ! Wc are all in danger. Thou dost bring 


This risk upon thy servants. 


Worthy Grim ! 
Thou meanest well, I know thou dost not fear : 
And for the rest, these hunters only seek 
The stag that heads the herd. They '11 find him hei'e. 


Hark ! good my Lord, the vespers have begun. 
They claim thy presence. 


'Tis enough ; we go 
Where duty calls— stay, gently there ! We'll move 
As is our wont ; nor will forego the least 
Of our accustom'd state. I '11 have my robes on. 

GEiM (aside to Matilda), 
ito, Lady ! rouse the people, if thou canst. 
It may not be too late. 

Scene XII. — Interiov of the Cathedral. 
Monks, d'c. 


Lift, lift the veil of Time, 

And gaze upon the land where shine 

The glorious suns of Palestine. 


In wondrous beauty, humble yet sublime, 
The lowly Man, the awful Godliead stands 
And lays the spell of his creative hands 
On one who, kneeling there 
Drinks with hot ear the words that smite the trembling- 

" Eeceive all pow'r o'er all thy kind 
To save or slay, to loose or bind ; 
While built on thee, a living stone 
Which Heav'n hath chosen for its own, 
A mightier Babel to the skies, 
With ages for its steps, shall rise. 
And Hell assault with idle shock 
The base of the immortal Rock ! " 

Up springs that man, yet more than human now. 
As o'er the field of his illumin'd brow 
The future lies in shadows, while above 
fr:,; •, ' He looks with fear-discarding love. 
One foot is stamp'd upon the sod 
As pressing down a foe, and, stretcli'd through space. 
His fingers seem the path of Time to trace, 
Grasping the mystic keys, the signet-ring of God ! 


When shall the building be completed, 
Upon whose banners, white as Salmon's snow, 
Is wi-it the mark of its high calling — 
" Earth rais'd to Heav'u, and Hell defeated 1 " 
Eleven centuries have seen it grow 
And spread its base, and lift its head above, 
'Mid earthly things and thrones around it falling- 
The visible shrine that holds the mystery of love ! 

Enter the temple — listen ! gaze around ! 
Hark ! what a soul of softly-solemn sound 

Broods in the air. It is the voice 
Of aged Time, Time old yet ever young. 

That bids the world its son rejoice, 
Hymning th' eternal melodies which, sung 

By angel-lips on Bethlehem's plain, 
Draw the sweet links of life in long-related chain ! 

Behold the lights that blaze ! 
Imaging living spirits — lamps of mind, 
In which let pious Fancy find 
The glory of those early rays 
When Heav'n to Earth descending came, 
And fill'd the herald-star with its new life of flame ! 


They light the path of each progressive soiil ; 
Spread into sparkles, blending into one 
The many malie the whole — 
As splendours scatter'd wide conspire to form a Sun ! 

Build the fabric ; raise it hidi : 
All the things of earth do lie — 
Learning's haunt, or lover's bow'r, 
Crowded mart, or castled tow'r, 
Ivied cot, or regal halls, 
In the shadow of its walls. 

Bow dowai ! Bow down ! 
Child of the world ! We claim from thee 
No soulless worship of the knee. 

Bow down, bow down, 
With bended heart and mind, and own 
The glories of the unseen throne, 
The triple rule that gems the God-descended crown ! 

All without is Night and Sin ; 
All is Light and Life within. 
Every sea and every land 
Lies in Rome's gigantic hand. 


Every hope of man is there ; 
Seed for joy, and seal for pray'r. 
Kings coerce with iron sway 
Subjects not more frail than they — 
Hers, the empire of the breast, 
Oldest, strongest, purest, best ! 

Rise, Monarch ! lay thy subject-sceptre here 
At tliy great mother's feet. 
Sheathe the vain sword, and drop the braggart 
Warrior of earth ! for what avail 
Material point, and coarse man-forged mail 
Against the arms of Heav'n, with which Heav'n's sons 
compete ? 

What this mighty spell which, spoken. 
Makes the heart of life lie broken, 
Blood be cold, and suns grow dark, 
If ye ask, we answer — ^hark ! 

Let the bell toll 
The knell above a buried soul ! 
Put out the lights to mark a life that 's fled, 
A body ribb'd around a spirit that is dead ! (i^^ 


Approach ! Approach (it is the accepted hour) 

The presence of this awful pow'r ! 
Peasant or Prince, approach, and take thy choice, 
Salvation in its arms, or Hell from out its voice ! 
Enter cb Beclcet, John of Salishuri/, Grim,, Monies, dec. 

in confusion. 


Gently ! What means this tumult 1 Deem ye this 
The palace of a Prince ? We are Ms servants 
Whose mind, as seen in Nature and her works, 
Is ever solemn, as it's ever sure ! 

[Increasing noise of battering heard. A Becket 
ascends the steps of the altar. 


Oh ! is there yet hope, John of Salisbury ? 
What will persuade him ? 


None, my friend ; and nothing ! 
Scarce would I do it, an' I could. Behold 
How like a god the glorious victim stands ! 
The bright yet calm intelligence within 
Shines through the thin skin on the outward face. 
Look on that high divinity of brow. 
Up which the thought that sways a world hath climb'd 


As to its topmost temple ! Meeting there, 
In wavy angle, two full feeling veins, 
Distended to their limits, give alone 
Their mortal indication — only one, 
One sacrifice like that ! 


Ho ! quickly there. 
Unclose the gates. What ! think ye Heav'n hath need 
Of bars and bolts, when will'd, to fortify 
Its sentence of exclusion ? 

\Looking round and speaking low. 
But one instant — 
And what an instant ! thou glorious throne 
Of the incarnate Majesty of Love, 
For thee, and the mysterious sanctities 
Of which thou art the image and the shrine, 
A little while I've borne with life — for these 
I now would lay it down ! for unto me. 
Childless and motherless, thou hast been all things, — 
Thou, and thy worship, and thy faith ! Farewell ! 
May worthier— Nay, 'tis time ! Come back, my eyes ! 
'Tis the last look that I shall give to thee, 
My beautiful temple ! 

{Aloud.) — Now, what fear ye, friends'? 


Is your profession one which suus itself 

lu the full blaze of unresisted day, 

But shrinks and shivers when the comfortless clouds 

Assault the horizon ? Do ye preach the Church 

Ruling the world, and with folse hearts crouch down 

Unto God's vilest creatures, men who use 

The forceful means which Nature gave to brutes 1 

On with the service ! 

[WiUiam de Tracy, and the three other Knights, 
in comiilete armour, hurst in. 

TRACY. ' ' 

Where's the traitor Becket 1 

[None speak. 
What ! are ye silent, cowards 1 Monks ! I say, 
Where's the Archbishop Becket 1 

BECKET (desceyiding.) 

Here am I ! 

Scene XIII. — Outside the Cathedral. 
Matilda, Crowd, Eicliard Blots. 


What says she ? Let us hear ! What saidst thou 1 



This ! 
I ask you, are ye English ? Will ye suffer 
Your own cathedral floor be made an altar 
On which to immolate yovir lives, your hopes, 
Your loves ! — then, are ye English*? are ye English 1 


What means the lady ? 


There ! the knife is in him, 
Finding its gory way ! Ah ! here I feel it ; 
I feel it in my side ! Alas ! 


What knife 1 
Whom are they slaying 1 


Whom 1 The man of men ! 
The hope of eai-th ! The pride of Heav'n ! I tell yon, 
Ye 're not alive when he is dead — youi' souls 
Are night when his is set ! 


Whol who? 


In that cathedral church— its lord and yours — 


They're murdering him — hark ! 


Becket ! mm-der Becket ! 
The Lord Archbishop ! 'Tis not possible ! 


Ye 're right, friends ! 'Tis not possible. The Primate 
Could summon armed angels in whole troops, 
With a few hundred chariots, n^ore or less, 
To aid him, an' he will'd it. Do ye tliink 
That he who works such miracles on others, 
Plugs an old sore, or mends a broken bone 
With the cheap plaister of a word or two. 
Can't help himself 1 — that is, if so he will it. 


Ay ! he speaks ti'uth. What harm can come to Becket ? 
He could command the earth to gape, could bid 
The whole cathedral fall upon his foes — 


Will ye not help him— will ye not ? 


— And lie 
As lightly on himself and his good monks 
As their own feather-beds ! 



A sign ! a sign ! 
Ha ! let the world be deaf ! The organ ceases — 
There stopiy'd the music of a soul ! Hark ! hark ! 
A nish of steps and voices bringing up 
The rear of a black action ! Doth there lie 
A cloud upon your eyes 1 Do your hearts beat ^ 
Feel them I — again ! 


There's something here — we'll force 
The church's doors ! We'll help the Archbishop — ■ 


The church's doors are open ! Enter — help him ! 
Worship him if ye will ! Convert his bones 
To amulets for cowards — and his blood, 
Hang it in bottles at your children's hearts 
That the weak stream which dribbles there may blush 
Into unfilial manhood ! 


To the church ! 
The four Knights rush out, exclaiming, 
Death to all traitors ! For the king ! the king ! 
Long live King Henry ! [and exeunt. 



Have they done it, think ye ? 
Had we known this, we would — 

Enter Grim, holding up a bloody cloth with his left arm ; 
his right hanging hroken. 


Down on your knees, 
With prayers and curses battling on your lips 
For the foul deed, and him who fell by it ! 
Behold the blood of Becket ! 

\The crowd kneel. 


Ha! ha! ha! 
I've got a pleasant tingling in my ears, 
And a low buzzino; like the sound of bees 
About my mother's garden. I was young — 
Was happy then. Let's see — the blood of Becket ! 
A common lot — but not a common man — 
I do not understand ! He was not old.(''' 
Death ! Becket ! a strange sound ! The blood of Becket ! 
I'll touch it — lo ! it does not bm-n my hand. 
The blood of Becket should be di'opp'd with fire 
As if the world were blazing— does it spai'e me 
Because I am a woman ? He indeed 



Was gentle unto women. Come, ye men, 
And touch this gory testament ! — ha ! ha ! 
I say, I've got a biizzing in my ears, 
As 'twere the voice of unborn multitudes 
Muttering the history of this bloody day ! 

CROWD {increasing). 
We will have vengeance ! Let us in, and arm 
Our hatred with the sight ! 

[Rush into the Cathedral. 
R. BLOis {looking at Matilda). 

This woman here 
Must to the King, and tell him of the deed ; 
He'll hear it from none else. 

Scene XIV. — The house of Agnes' father. 
Be Tracy, Agnes {jneeting). 

Agnes ! 


De Tracy ! 


One word — one of pity ! 



What hast thou done ? There's murder in thine eye ! 


There should be ! for my hand hath dealt it. Agnes ! 
'Twill haunt my heart ! One word — I risk my hfe 
To see thee ere I fly, — but one — forgiveness ! 
Heav'n will not, and man wiU not — but, oh ! Agnes, 
Pardon me thou ! 


Say, WiUiam ! What is this ? 


I struck him as he stood in calm defiance, 
Without a movement of eye, breath, or limb. 
I dash'd his brains out on the marble soil, 
Whence angel hands will gather them to witness 
At the last judgment ! When the deed was done, 
I felt as if the air around was fiU'd 
With the great soul of that poor mangled corpse ! 
Innumerable eyes stared into me, 
And forked tongues of everlasting fire 
Cried out, " Why didst thou this ?" 


Whom hast thou slain 1 



But wilt tliou pardon me 1 I've slain the man — 
'Twas from mad love of thee — who stole thy heart. 
Oh ! I was hot with hate ! I've kill'd a Becket ! 


A Becket ! God of mercy ! — thou art wrong. 
I ne'er spoke word to him, or he to me. 
I lov'd him as a Christian child should love 
Christ's mirror upon earth ! 


Not love a Becket 1 
I say he's dead — I slew him — murder'd him, 
Because that thou didst love him ! Oh ! my head ! 
The pain of hell-fire is already here ! 
Oh ! Agnes, tell me that thou lov'dst a Becket — 
Ah ! what a look is there ! Could Heav'n not save him? 


May it save thee ! Thou'st done a fearful thing ! 


Crush'd — spirit-crush'd ! I am a fearful thing, 
Which I myself can't look upon ; to others — 

To thee, what am I but a I must fly ! 

I have no claim on thee — I wroug'd thee — yet, 
Give me one gentle word, to go with me 


As my sole friend in life-long banishment. 

I can foresee the future — the far bed, dS) 

And the stretch'd limbs, from which Death, day by day 

Cuts butcher-like the unequal flesh, to leave 

A half-form'd skeleton ! Pity me, Agnes ! 

God ! for pity ! 


May that God give mo 
As I give thee all pardon ! I will pray 
Whene'er I think of thee — when 1 ever ! ever ! 
" May'st thou find mercy ! " Mercy for De Tracy ! 
Mercy for Agnes ! Go, dear William, go ! 

[As he turns slowly away, she calls him hack. 
Stay, William : here's a trinket. 'Twill remind — 
But, is't not better to forget ? No matter — 
Take it. There may be brighter suns than England's, 
And comfort — ay ! love flow upon thy soul 
From other lips than mine. Now, go ! 


No, Agnes ! 
Thou dost forget that I shall be ring'd round 
With a deep gulf that angels may not pass, 
Denied all hope in death, cast corpse-like forth 
To putrefy, yet feel and breathe ! Behold 


Witli what a point these holy arrows pierce 
Throiigh mail or purple, tipp'd by hate, or wing'd 
By cool-brow'd Justice ! 'Tis the lust of pow'r 
That lifts Rome's giant arm, to crush the good, 
Or add a pang to such a breast as mine ! 

AGNES (ccbstractedli/). 
It may be shared. It had escap'd my mind, 
The memory of that fierce anathema. 
Cm-s'd by the Church ! No hand, no look, no voice — 
Wretched ! alone ! — alone 1 What meaneth that ? 
Spoken by Rome, Hell lives within the word ! 
'Twas a rash act ! yet done for love of me — 
Alone ! {with vehemence). 'Tis past ! I fly with thee, 
De Tracy. 

TKACY {firmly). 
My Agnes, never ! 


Thine ! and yet thou wilt not ? 
Am I so deeply dyed — so passing foul, 
That that dark lot, the which thy fear compared 
With very rottenness, can yet be made 
More loathsome by my presence 1 Wretched Agnes ! 
Oh ! Tracy ! I was young ; and day by day. 


The pressure of a sacred voice ; the show 

(How false, I know too late !) that heav'n is served 

By e'en the guilty lavishment of love 

On its uuwedded ministers, compell'd 

The suiierauce of a deed, but never touch'd 

The unlistening heart, which only beat for thee ! 


Agues, refrain ! Oh ! let it not be said 

That the last act which I had pow'r to choose. 

But topp'd the gloomy mountain of my crimes 

With a more damning villany ! Thy presence ! 

That were a sun ! but I will choose the night. 

I dared the deed. I front the punishment 

In aU its desolation. It were worse 

Than the red blow which let the soul escape 

From the ciiish'd body, when the plague hath 

touch'd me, ' 
And o'er my Hmbs I throw the spotted robe, 
To seek for comfort — 'twere a devil's comfort — 
By folding her in its polluted skirt 
Who loves me, even now ! No, no, we part. 
Dear Agnes ! Ah ! my spirit's bruised indeed, 
That my hot lips do lack a righteous curse 
For that foul system, author of our woe, 


Which strides to heav'n by overpassing hell 
In damnable conceptions ! 


my love ! 
Go, for the last time ! take my heart with thee — 
Take my last thought of earth ! I quit, this instant, 
My father's house for some conventual tomb. 
To bury e'en the memory of De Tracy ! 
Oh! go— 

[As he turns to depart, she exclaims, " William /" 
He looks at her without speaking, and rushes 
out of the room. She clasps her hands to her 
head, and exit. 

Scene XV. — Normandy Pcdace. 
Henry II., Lords, &c., William of Pavia. 


'Twas a fine flight, my Lords ! My favourite bird 
Did credit to his training ; let me add, 
To his race likewise. Noble deeds come well 
Of noble blood. Lord Cardinal, the Church, 


That frowns upon jour Eminence's presence 
At sports like these, doth rob you of much joy. 
'Twere right to bribe and compensate a heart 
With some great bliss, that may not thrill to hear 
The falconer's whoop ! 


Yom- Highness has been born 
A man of war, like David, raised to fight 
The battles of the Church ; and they who slay 
Their lions and Goliaths, turn to pleasures, 
When they have leisure, which to their vocation 
Bear consanguinity of nature. I 
Am a poor portion of a pow'r, whose office 
It is to build the tem2)le up in peace 
Without e'en sound of hammer — to save life, 
And not to slay it ! 


Doubtless, Cardinal ! 
Rome knows her own work best, and wiU not miss 
The means to help it. {To first Loi^d.) Have ye heard 

from England ? 
Hath my commandment caught those truant knights 
That went from us ? 



Not yet, yoiir Grace ! I fear 
Our messenger will scarcely overtake 
Their hasty steps — 


God's eyes ! my loving Lord ! 
Do they who brave my orders, make more speed 
Than they who bear them 1 


Please your Highness, they 
Had some hours' start of — 


Start, man! What of that? 
Mother of mercy ! doth the falcon start 
Together with the heron ? Ye base knaves. 
An' I had gone myself — What have we now 1 
Enter Second Lord. 


May 't please your Grace ! a messenger from England, 
Saith that the father of the Lady Agnes, 
In quick belief that that same priest had hid 
His daughter from him, tax'd him with the theft. 
Words lash'd their thoughts to a red heat, on which 
The warlike churchman snatch'd a weapon by, 
And slew him, where he stood ! 



Slew whom 1 


The father. 


Who slew him ? 


He, the priest. 


Great Heav'n ! my brain 
Grows stunn'd and weary with these licensed devils. 
Now, will not Becket take this wretch in hand, 
And shut him up for a short year or two, 
In order that the comfortable culprit 
May meditate on murder, and come forth 
Wash'd by repentance to a clean-brow'd saint 1 
Would the whole pack were — 

MATILDA (^without). 

Back ] / back ! I will not ! 
Who now is greater than Matilda Ilohan 
Array'd in such a mission 1 Give way ye ; 
And let me enter ! 

[Ente7'S, holding up the bloody cloth. 


Lo, where stands a King ! 
Henry of England ! Lord of Normandy ! 
Can sorrow reach Plantageuet and Anjou ? 
Ay ! here's a Httle thing will shake the breasts 
Of monarchs 'neath their purple ! Yet I said 
Thou didst not wish it ! Didst thou, mighty Prince ? 
This cloth is stain'd with — 


Stop ! 'Tis blood ! Oh 1 when 
Will this day end % Tell me — yet say not that — 
There, in thine eyes I read it ! May thy lips 
Forswear the witness ! 'Tis not he that's dead — 
Becket ! Speak !— Becket? 


Murder'd ! 


Oh ! my friend ! 


There spake the man : let the king die with Becket ! 
Behold ! it moves him : him the first of men, 
The hero who swept down baronial pow'r 
With the sharp wind of war, and smiled to see 
Red carnage feed upon her hundreds, making 
So many tyrants less — but not like him, 


Not one like him ! When he died, clouds rush'd in 
Before the eye of daylight : the earth shrank 
As 'twould escape from bearing such a deed ; 
The tears of angels fell on that gash'd corpse, 
Like the sad dew upon a battle-field 
Where armies rot misepulchred ; and Vice 
Rais'd its lean head, and leer'd i;pon the land, 
In foul expectance of a fresh embrace ! 


Lord Cardinal ! Thou dost not speak. 


Sir King ! 
The sound of such a thing should stun with hon-or 
All senses of all hearers. This black deed 
Thy myrmidons have done — 


Mine ! Cardinal 1 
What robb'd the earth of that most blessed life ? 
What warp'd the fancies of that noble mind, 
Turning aside the thoughts that had enrich'd 
A kingdom witli their fulness 1 What but Rome ? 
With the false show of her all-grasping claims 
She misdirected such a soul as Becket's 
To lag behind itself, and vindicate 


The exaltation of her shrine of pow'r ! 

But, 'tis enough ; I'm calm : gone, gone for ever ! 

[Walks aside. 


His thoughts are with the past, when like two boys, 

In playful glee, the King and Chancellor 

Rode side by side ; and trick and laugh boil'd up 

From plenitude of spirit ! 'Tis a proof 

How much he loved him. 


Even unto death ! 
Lady, thou saw'st the body ? 


Saw it 1 Ay ! 
I, and the angels, and the fiends, all saw it ; 
For think ye not Creation was disturb'd 
In every corner, and came trooping in 
To witness such a death t The devils laugh'd. 
And then I laugh'd ! — but why should I do that 1 
I was not happy. Maybe I am mad. 


And they who did it have escaped, no doubt. 
I need not ask their names. 



They have escaped. 
HENRY {returning). 
My Lords, break up this meeting. I would question 
My thoughts alone. This is a circumstance 
Of fearful moment, which will link the past 
With th' unsure features of the comino; ao-e, 
Like mark upon the mountain-top of Time, 
Whose base has sunk from sight. Have I a friend 
Worth such a foe ? He wrestled for his order, 
And I for mine. What is the end ? The Church 
Now sees its good in ranging side by side 
With vassal against lord ; in aftertimes 
Perchance 'twill court the men who stand upon 
The topmost round of life ; and next, the crown, 
Shorn of its rays of pow'r, become a symbol 
Of order. It is well. All private toil 
Conspires to raise the public edifice. 
And, last, will flow the people's love or duty 
From free-bred hearts, not forced out thence by weight 
Of favour or oppression. It will come — 
O Becket, Becket ! neither you nor I 
Do make up England ! — and yet luurder'd ! 

[Exit Henry and attendants. 


WILLIAM {looMng after him). 

What will, the present smiles on Eome ; the future 
May bring its handle with it. The live Becket 
Was not, Monarch, half the plague to thee, 
As shall be dead St. Thomas ! (i») 



Note (1). — Page 5. 
Brabanfons. A species of military banditti, who were veiy commonly 
bired as mercenaries by the princes of those times. Brabant was the 
chief nursery of this kind of troops, and gave its name to them, from 
whatever quarter they were derived. 

Note (2).— Page 7- 
A Becket was successively Archdeacon of Canterbury, Tutor to Henry's 
eldest son (holding at the time sundry collateral offices, such as the 
Governorship of the Tower of London, &c.), Chancellor of England, and 
Archbishop. Before his appointment to tlie Primacy, he had figured, 
with considerable success, in the characters of warrior, courtier, and 

Note (3).— Page 10. 
Henry, Bisliop of Winchester, was a younger son of the Count of 
Blois, by Adela, daugliter of William the Conqueror ; and, consequently, 
brother to King Stephen. 

Note (4). — Page 11. 
A Becket, urged by the Norman Bisliops, and threatened by the King 
and Barons, had agreed to observe the " Constitutions of Clarendon," 
requiring time, however, to digest their meaning and pur])ort. lie does 
not appear, like the rest, to have affixed his seal to them. For making a 
concession to the above extent he was reproved by his cross-bearer, Edward 


Grim. If we behold liira yielding in this one instance, on every subsequent 
occasion, during the protracted contest between the king and him, lie 
appears as firm and unbending — 

Quara si dura silex, aut stet marpesia cautes. 

Note (5).— Page 12. 
The King's Customs were the regulations established by Henry II. 
at the council of Clarendon ; and alleged by him to be founded on the 
" usages " of his grandfather, Henry I. Their chief object was to curtail 
the power of ecclesiastics, by bringing them, in criminal matters, under 
civil autliority ; and to prevent foreign interference in the kingdom, liy 
controlling the right of appeals to the Pope. 

Note (6).— Page 20. 

When A Becket first fled from England, all his kindred were banislicd 
by royal edict ; and his property, with that of his dependants, was con- 

Note (7). — Page 22. 

By " Israel " he refers to his English father, who was a Christian 
— one of the true Israel of God; while his mother was originally a heathen, 
the daugliter of a Saracen Emir. 

Note (8).— Page 39. 
Richard Coeur de Lion appears to have been the first sovereign wlio 
made use of the royal "we" in grants aud charters. Henry II. in his 
charter to the City of Norwicli, anno 1182, writes, " Sciatis me conces- 
sisse," " quare volo^' &c. — Notes and Queries, vol. vi. p. 232. 

Note (9). — Page 54. 
The names of this, and other personages of the period, are spelt very 
differently by different writers. 

Note (10.)— Page 58. 
Polished metallic specula were used as mirrors in the early ages of the 
world. Thus in Job (xxxvii. 18) we find allusion made to the " sky, which 
is strong, and as a molten looking-glass ; " aud the laver (Exod. xxxviii. 8) 
was composed of the brass looking-glasses of the women. The first sheets 
of blown glass for looking-glasses and coach windows, were made in 167'j 
at Lambeth, by Venetian artisans, employed under the patronage of the 


Duke of Buckingham. — {Tire's Bid.) I have not succeeded iu ascertaining 
the price of a mirror in the time of Henry II.; but probably that belong- 
ing to Thomas was an heir-loom in the famDy. 

TVoTE (11).— Page 59. 
Henry compelled Becket to pay back several .'imall sums of money 
which had passed between tliem; and charged him with the liability 
of a further payment of 44,000 marks, to make good deficiencies in his 
accounts while Cliancellor. Apparently the King's object was not the 
money, but to effect the ruin of the Primate. 

Note (12).— Page G3. 

This tax was called " Saladin's Tax," and was levied for the delivery 

of the Holy Land. Henry had now become more anxious to show a zeal 

for religion, (even yielding occasionally to Papal interference,) while 

Becket adopted more violent measures to counteract the (generally) 

calmer plans which the King entertained for bringing ecclesiastics under 


Note (13).— Page 64. 

Victor IV. bad been recognised by Frederick Barbarossa, while 

Alexander HI. was supported by France and England. A new anti-pope 

appeared subsequently in the person of Pascal III. 

Note (14). — Page 65. 
Henry II. began to reign a.d. 1155. Wycliffe was not born till 
about A,D. 1324. A legal friend of mine, (John Darling, Esq.) to whom 
I am much indebted for the revision of the present work, suggests that I 
should not assume any reader to be unacquuiuted with the above facts. 
However, I only request the said reader to bear them carefully in mind in 
several passages of the Poem. 

Note (15).— Page 89. 
I have taken a slight historical liberty in making three only of 
" the Knights " present at the first interview with Becket. As the matter 
is recorded, it seems difficult to understand why the conspirators did not 
at once proceed to extremities, without waiting for a second opportunity. 

Note (16).— Page 106. 

Excommunication was pronounced or read by torch-light, after which 

the torches were extinguished, and the bells tolh'd. Hence the expression 

curse bv bell, book, and caudle." 


Note (17).— Page 113. 
A Becket was murdered in the 53d year of his age, on Tuesday 
29th Dec. 1170. 

Note (18).— Page 117. 
Tradition saith to the above effect, viz.— that Be Tracy's flesh fell 
off from his bones in masses. 

Note (19).— Page 128. 
The estimation in which St. Thomas was held, may be judged of 
from the fact, that subsequently to his Canonization, the contributions at 
Canterbury in one year were — 

£ s. d. 

At the altar of Thomas a Becket 954 6 3 

„ „ of the Virgux Mary 4 18 

„ „ of Christ 000 

Vide LijtiletoH's Henry II, 

fairs ^ukm f eiglr. 

" A FEW weeks ago, in clearing out the ruins of an old chapel at 
Nuneham Regis, in Warwickshire, we thought it necessary to trench 

the whole space We began to trench at the west end, and 

came on a great many bones and skeletons, from which the coffins 

had crumbled away As soon as the leaden top was rolled 

back, a most overpowering aromatic smell diffused itself all over the 

place On trenching towards the chancel we came on four 

leaden coffins laid side by side, with inscriptions on each. . . . We 
opened the coffin of Lady Audrey Leigh, and found her perfectly 
embalmed and in entire preservation, her flesh quite plump as if she 
were alive, her face very beautiful, her hands exceedingly small, 
and not wasted. She was dressed in fine linen trimmed all over 
with old point lace, and two rows of lace were laid flat across her 
forehead. She looked exactly as if she were lying asleep, and 
seemed not more than sixteen or seventeen years old ; her beauty 
was very great ; even her eye-lashes and eye-brows were quite perfect, 
and her eyes were closed ; no part of her face or figure was at all 
fallen in. The date on the coffin was 1640." — Notes and Queries, 
vol. vi. no. 156, p. 386. 


They have lifted the lid 
From the mould'ring coifiu — and what was there 1 
Noble and young and passing fair, 
White-robed she lay, and cushion'd amid 
Perfume and faded flow'rs, -which spread 
An odorous veil o'er the long-housed dead. 

Deeply we gazed : it was strange to see 
The brows of that living company 
Bent upon one who had not grown 
Older in twice a century flown ; 
Whose life had set while it still was morn, 
Long ere their fathers' sires were born. 


Slightly her eyelash stirr'd to the breath 
Of the close-set faces stooping round ; 

And calm lay her features and cold, beneath 
Torch-light and hammer with flash and sound, 

And but for this you had deem'd her then 

A. sleeping child of those rugged men. 

Deeply we gazed ; and on and on, 
Musing, I look'd when the rest were gone. 
It seem'd as if Death had arrested there 
His pitiless touch from a form so fair, 
And had let her lie, with the delicate clasp 
Of her fingers, bent as in friendly gxasp ; 
While two white fillets of ancient lace 
Banded the brow of that beautiful face ! 
" Thou dead ! It cannot be ! " I cried, 
" Wake, lady ! wake ! and side by side. 
We will wander to see what change hath past 
O'er the sleepless world since thou saw'st it last." 

Merciful angels ! or hath my brain 
Tliought until vision is weak and vain ? 
Or doth the fluttering torch-light flash 
From a gather'd tear on that long eyelash 1 


And was it my own voice sounding nigh 1 
Oh ! surely there must be life to sigh ! 

I turn'd for awhile, but when I gazed 
Once more, the head of the dead was raised. 
And my heart's blood shrank to its fount to see 
That young eye open, and look upon me ! 
She rose — she stood — then approach' d me near 

With silent motion, and took my hand — 
'^That touch of gentleness soothed my fear, 
Which grew to joy, as I seem'd to hear 
" A Pow'r which the grave may not withstand 
Hath raised me up from its quiet home, 
With thee through the sleepless world to roam." 


We stood within a stately hall ; 
From spreading glass and gilded wall 
The lamp-rays shot their myriad glances, 
As, circling, swept in busy dances 

The idlers of the ball. 
Tln-ough flowery arch and warm saloon. 
Floated melodious clouds of tune. 
Joy seem'd to reign where all went well, 
And bosoms heaved as footsteps fell ! 


Alone we stood ; no foot, no voice 

Or ceased to move, or to rejoice : 

Nor rose one whisper to discuss 

" Why hath he brought the dead to us 1 " 

I turn'd to my companion — she 
Look'd up in quiet grief and said, 
" How happier are the uumoving dead ! 
This is no place for me. 

Let my heavy eyelids close ; 

Take me back to my repose." 


Again I took her, 'mid the things 

Of modern life, the dead 
To mingle with the living, where 
To waft the way-farer through air 

The Genius of Invention spread 
His vast and vapoury wings. 
From town to town, from mart to mart, 
Like Nature's lightning mock'd by art, 

We sped impetuous on — 
View'd mighty ports where ships unfurl'd 
Their sails, the envoys to a world 

From Commerce' golden throne ; 


Or bustliug wealth bid ever rise 
Its growing temple to the skies. 

She shrank within herself — her look 
Was one of timid sorrow, cast 
In wishes for a trial past : 
Her body trembled, as the din 

Of the world, iron-throated, shook 
Her peaceful soul within ! 
" Let, let my eyelids close ; 
Take me back to my repose." 


Again, we hasten'd where the air 

Was cleft by thousand voices crjdng. 
Above the cannons roaring there. 

Far o'er the groans of many dying — 
In shouts that made the distance ring, 
" The king ! the king ! Long live the king !" 
Erect the crowned victor stood. 

And on his star-emblazon'd breast 
The purple hid the tide of blood 

That bore him to that height ; 
It hid the long and lean unrest, 

That wore him, day and night. 


Yet, 'twas a scene of pow'r to please ; 
The banner stretching to the breeze, 

The cry of joy, the rush of speed. 
Bright armour flashing to the sun 
The augury of a reign begun, 

The rivalry of man and steed, 
The champ, the neighing, and the shout ; 

While still, at every close. 
Like a check'd fountain bursting out. 

The brazen music rose. 

Her cheek alone was pale ; her heart was cold : 
O'er the large orbs their sable lashes drooping, 
Seem'd to betray how life within was stoojjing 
To find escape from matter's forceful hold. 
While o'er the marble lips there past a quiv'ring, 
From which the words came feebly, shorn and shiv'ring, 
" Let my heavy eyehds close ; 
Take me back to my repose ! " 


Above us rose a lofty dome 
O'er-topping many a learned tome, 
As if long-labouring art had wrought 
A very palace-hall for thought ! 


Imaginations of all ages 
Breathed silently from countless pages, 
And gentle fancy, never dead, 
Her wings in graceful beauty spread. 

I gazed arormd with curious look. 
And saw where in a quiet nook. 
With furry robe and fuiTow'd brow, 
— 'Twas thus since he was young till now — 

An old man and alone. 
As willing here his world to find, 
Sat calmly like the king of mind. 

Upon his letter'd throne. 

No word my youthful partner spoke. 
But meekly shook her ch-ooping head ; 

While o'er her pallid features broke 
The language of a look, which said 

That wish for earthly wisdom stirs 

No motion in a soul hke hers ! 

We sat upon a quiet bank, alone 

By shaded waters ; and I asked her then. 
With something of a disappointed tone. 


" Lady ! what are the joys thou rather choosest 1 
What is that Hfe for which thou still refusest 
To mix, well-pleased, amid thy fellow-men?" 
For the first time her eye-ball's solemn show 

Grew warm with feeling, and her cheek was tinged 
By various hues, as if a rainbow fringed 
With its bright stripes a plain of A.rctic snow. 

" Oh ! there my life is sweet," she cried, 

" Far sweeter than my words can say, 
To wait, as might some sleeping bride. 

The dawn that brings a greater day. 
That life (if such to thee might seem 
The sense of an unworldly dream) 
Is, as the peace-pervaded soul 

Were rock'd in a voluptuous motion 

Upon the fondling depths of ocean, 
Still drawing nearer to the goal 

Of a dim shore, where Hope may hint 

A balmier air, a brighter tint ; 
But, clearly, through its shadows seen 

No feature meets the eye to break 
The film of bliss that floats between 

This present world, and when shall wake 


The spirit, born uo more to die, 
And married into ecstasy ! 

" Sometimes I feel as I were rushing 

Upon a mighty danger, when 
There comes a mightier comfort gashing 

Through every pore of self, and then 
Anticipated victory eases 
The peril into pain that pleases. 

" At times I feel about to sink 

In gloomy water, down and down, 
Pull'd back by heavy hands, and think, 

' There must be help — I shall not drown ! ' 
A cross of wood comes floating nigh, 

On which I mount, and as I go, 

Shake oif the baffled clutch below. 
And look well-pleased upon the sky ! 

" But, more than all, for more than all, 

I see a face bend down to mine — 

To say its Beauty is divine 
Were nothing ; and it then lets fall 
From its eternal eyes, a flood 


Of love, SO sorrowful yet deep, 

That I spring up, as I would steep 
My soul therein ; and then comes blood 
From its crown'd brow — a thorny crown — 
Dropping, dropping, solemnly down. 
What feel I then as that red flow 

Streams on me 1 A strange heart and mind 

As I myself were all mankind. 
And man — but words are vain to show 
That awful joy ! Oh ! let me go, 
Renewing bliss that will but end 
In greater bliss — cruel friend ! 
Let my heavy eyelids close ; 
Take me back to my repose ! " 


Once more, we stood beneath a lowly roof 

Where decent taste and pride strove hard to keep 
The dust and rags of poverty aloof. 

And tried to smile, but only turn'd to weep. 
On a rude chair there sat to write 

One, on whose form her widow's dress. 
Hung like the shadow of the night 
Upon her morning loveliness ; 



And by her side, fresh-open'd there, 

Upon the table's humble deal, 
A pleasant letter wi-itten fair. 

With coronetted seal. 

And as she wrote, she turn'd her head 

Where a young infant lay, 

With large mild eyes like quiet day, 
On the brown- quilted bed. 
It look'd not strong as mother's glance 

Should find it — Who can guess 
The cause 1 'Twas sickness — or perchance 

Its little food was less — 
And then it seem'd in pain, — altho' 
Its cry, if ever heard, was low. 

She wrote and look'd, and sigh'd and wrote, 
And trembling closed the blotted note ; 
And then she knelt, and raised on high 
The tearful beauty of her eye. 

And pray'd to have a better will. 
To choose the pure and purse-poor station — 
" Oh ! lead us not into temptation ! 

Deliver us from ill ! " 




The fair companion by my side 
Gazed deep and sobbingly, and cried, 
" Here will I stay ! Life here were worth 
A long retaste of bitter earth — 
To live for good, to lift a soul, 
To draw it nearer to that goal 
Where I — but wherefore didst thou speak ? " 
" I spoke not," I replied — her cheek 
Grew pale again ; and then — " I caught 
A whisper'd voice — 'twas thine, I thought; 
But ah ! it was my warning fate, 
' Too late,' it cried, * it is too late ! 
Pray only that the thoughts may be 
In living hearts which burn in thee !' 
Oh ! may they ! may they ! Now again 
I die to earthly joy and pain. 
I feel as if my fleeting soul 
Were spreading strongly through the whole 
Of all created Life, and yet, 
There lurks a sense that can't forget 
Itself; a ray that mixes with the sun ; 
One ranging through the whole — the whole 
encircling one ! 


Oh ! Love ! great Love !" — then, as a child rejoices 
To visit home, she pass'd ; and the sad air 

Kiss'd from her lips those last sweet words, and bare 
" Oh ! Love ! great Love ! " around in myriads of 
small voices. 


And next, I stood alone, as on my view 
Her words and figure faded oif together, 
And I but heard the voice of the rough weather, 

And saw the sky stretch out its solitary blue. 

And oft I wander by the drowsy brink 

Of melancholy streams, or through the wood 
Of slumbering forests ; and in sadness think 

Of that — more felt perchance than understood — 
That glorious vision ! and then I 
Sigh — is it sinful so to sigh ? 

That unto me were giv'n 

A better life, or other birth ; 

To wed with such a soul on earth, 

Oi- look on it in heav'n ! 


Eyes are heavy with sleep, 

Feet are weary of tripping, 
And hps have dived so deep. 

They even have ceased from sipping. 
Heigho ; 

*The bell doth go 
Drowsily, drowsily, to and fro ; 
For all have been merry in full to-night, 
In the very old town of Dronchensteit. 

In a very old town you may safely swear 
That very odd things will happen there, 
For strange events and ghosts are few 
Alike in city or room that's new. 
The lady of the place that day 
Had given her hand and heart away 

IVA. 149 

To a stranger, who amidst them came 

With a handsome face, and an unknown name. 

He was good-looking-enough for the young, 
Rich beyond measui'e — it pleased the old ; 

Good matrons loved his flattering tongue, 
And fathers of fiimihes liked his gold. 
On what the heart loves the head will think. 
So, bent upon food, and earnest in drink. 

They all did honor that very long night 

To the lady Iva of Dronchensteit. 


Since time, or books at least, begun, 

Heroines are handsome, every one. 
Who'd take the trouble to pen a line, 

'Bout crooked shapes and crabbed features 

Belonging to the best of creatures ? 
In mind and form alike divine 
All heroines are, and Iva's mine : 

But there's an attribute of woman 
Ere books were writ or minstrels sung, 

Most unheroically common — 
Both plain and pretty have a tongue ; 

150 IVA. 

Since Adam first in Eden walk'd, 
Where men have married, wives have talk'd. 
And Iva in this gift was rich, 

This virtue, I should say, for well I call 
That fault a noble merit which 

Saved her from being quite angelical. 
Feel as you may, explain it as you can, 
A perfect woman would not do for man ! 


The lamp a shaded lustre shed 

In the large chamber, scarce disclosing 
The forms, upon the bridal bed. 

Of Iva and her lord reposing. 
They scarce had laid them down before 

Some rapid words the lady utter'd. 
Her silence now at least was more 

Than could be hoped, when she felt flutter'd, 
And threw her thoughts into an exclamation. 
Merely to ease the fulness of sensation. 

She spoke in question — not a word 
The bridegroom utter'd in reply, 

And not a single life-soimd stirr'd 
In that old chamber, broad and high, 

IVA. 151 

Beside each solemn swaying tone 
That mark'd another moment gone. 

She moved not, listening for a sound, 
But all was motionless around — 
Then, held her breath with lips comprest, 
And heard the beating of her breast. 

" Oh ! speak, my husband ! " From without 
There came the last inebriate shout, 

That pledg'd the bridegroom and his bride ; 
It scarcely clove the massy wall, 
And like a voice beneath a pall. 

In muffled whisper died — 
And then, upon that bridal room, 
There lay the terror of the tomb. 

She bent her head aside to hear, 

No breathing rose upon her ear — 
And the hand placed in hers — Oh ! say, 
Why grew it colder as it lay 1 

This could not last ; her brain would burst : 
With desperate will, to know the worst, 
She cast the arm aside, and sprung 
To draw the curtain'd folds that hung 

152 iVA. 

In crimson mockery round that funeral bed, 

And the calm lamp-light kiss'd the featui-es of the dead. 


The sun had climb'd the South, before 
They ventured to unclose the door — 
Then enter'd — not an answering sound — 
Onward they rush'd in fear, and found 
The bridegroom's corpse outstretch'd beside 
The corpse-like figvu-e of the bride. 

With speedy kindness they removed 
What once had been so near and loved, 
And in a far and stately room, 
With light enough to show the gloom, 
They laid the body out, before 
'Twas hid in earth for evermore ; 
But to her always-welcoming eyes, 
As erst his living form would rise, 
So now 'twas memory's useless part 
To hold its image to her heai-t. 


Yet felt she Time dies out with breath, 
And distance is destroyed by death ; 

ivA. 153 

For though no footstep dared intrude 

Upon the solitude she sought, 
She sat as in the neighbourhood 

Of loving look, and voice, and thought 
As mortal life had flown, so fled 
The hours, but left a sense instead 
Of something still that was not dead. 

Poor Iva ! wretchedly that day 
In fears and fainting pass'd away. 
And when the evening shadows fell, 

She sank in troubled sleep awhile. 
But they who watch'd beside her well 

Could see her pallid features smile : 
She started, for she more than seem'd 
To see her husband as she dream'd. 
His look was solemn, and his tongue 
With slow and earnest accents i-ung. 

" I could not, when alive with thee 
Explain my being's destiny ; 
But 'tis decreed upon our race, 
When marriages therein take place. 

154 IV A. 

Each wedded male — if eldest born — 
Shall rest from night to early morn, 
And if a certain word be spoken 

By her beside him, instantly 
The chain of life perforce is broken, 

And he a breathless corpse must lie 
Until the second night shaU give 
A second chance, and bid him live. 
Thus hope survives unto the third ; 
And if thereon that mystic word 
Shall not be breath'd, / live — if said, 
I rest with the unrising dead." 

And wildly Iva pray'd to be 
Inform'd of that one word, which she 
Would shun as 'twere her very grave — 
Sadly the phantom sigh'd, and gave 
A look that warn'd her to be wise ; 
Then vanish'd on her w^aking eyes. 


The second night descends upon the heads 
Of the old burghers, lock'd in slumber fast ; 

That evening they went early to their beds 
To make up for the revels of the last. 

IV A. 155 

And Iva in her lonely chamber stood. 

It was a fearful moment ; yesternight 
'Twas there he lay, a thing of breath and blood, 

Her heart's own choice, and now — Oh ! were it light ! 
She thought upon her dream — might that be true ? 

'Twas strange, 'twas foolish ; could the unworking 
Or the stopp'd pulse, its wasted life renew ? 

Could the flame light itself? fond wish and vain ! 

Then m-ged by love, she stole away 
Where stretch'd in state the body lay, 
And pass'd with undisturbing tread 
The silent portal of the dead. 
With trembling heart and lip, as near 
She drew unto that gloomy bier, 
In death-like slumber strew'd around, 
Upon the pall-encumber'd ground, 
The careless watchers lay — Why care 1 
Ay ! Iva, start — the body is not there ! 

None moved — why wake them ? it was strange 
That sleep of theirs so deep — 'twould seem 
To mate her thoughts, which scarce could range 

Beyond her own mysterious di'eam. 

156 IVA. 

And with a wildei-'d sense of pain 
She sought the bridal room again. 

Entering, a doubtful glance she cast 
Upon that large and empty bed, 

And every moment as it pass'd 
Seem'd like a friend that fled. 

That ancient lamp was burning o'er 

Her head as dimly as before ; 

Without, no distant roar was heard, 
'Twere music, would it now intrude 

Upon that room where nothing stirr'd 
Its settled solitude, 

Except the funeral clock whose chime 

Bewail'd the constant death of time. 

That bed ! how mount it 1 should she dare. 
What else might soon be lying there 1 
With every thought her horror grew. 
And fancy wilder pictures drew 
Of what might be from what she knew. 
And standing thus with beating heart 
And wand'ring glance, with sudden start 
She heard the flickering lamp on high 

iVA. 157 

Go out with a convulsive sigh, 
Like his who does uot wish to die — 
She had no power to call aloud, 
And the dark-vested night clos'd round her like i 

She totter'd to the bed, and there ■ 

Sank down in terror and despair. 

Upon her flash'd with double pow'r 

This solemn truth in that lone hour, — 

" There's more in death than meets the eye, 

There is a life that cannot die, 

But the stiff limbs, can they " — refrain, 

Iva ! 'twill craze thy youthful brain ! 

Yet still recurr'd that thought of fear, 

" He is not there — but comes he here V 

She listen'd for a sound — none came 

But the quick shuddering of her frame, 

And as for other sense, the sight 

Was blinded by the folds of night. 

More calm she grew, when on her brain 

That mystic vision rush'd again j 

Half speaking to herself she cried, 

'■ Oh ! wert tlwu resting by my side, 

158 IVA. 

No traveller's feet e'er strove to shun 

The city of the plague, as I 
Would force my lips avoid that one, 

That fatal word that bade thee die. 
And can this chance survive for me ? 

Doth hope yet live my life to bless ? 
This dream, great Heav'n ! — Oh ! can it be ?" 
Then soft and deep, 
As infant's sleep, 

A voice beside her whisper'd, " Yes ! " 

Arrested by the sound, she lay. 

As fearing or to speak or think, 
Like one who palsied stands by day 

Upon a shelving mountain's brink ; 
And next, more welcome than at close 

Of desert noon the welling spring. 
Upon her quicken'd ear arose 

The breathings of a living thing — 
" My husband !" — but she stopp'd in dread 
Of that one word which, haply, said. 

Both life and hope would die again ; 
And then, as fearing to destroy 

The present charm, in measured note 

iVA. 159 

She pour'd a low and thankful strain, 
Like little bird that tunes its thi'oat 
From necessary joy — 
She stops — why shrieks 1 — she bends her eager head 
To oatch the living breath — it comes not — he is dead. 


Slow sinks the faltering night, 
As conscious of the destiny it bore j 

'Tis the third throw of fate, — 
This done, the die of hope is cast no moi:e ; 

He's lost, or won to life and light, 

And she is blest or desolate ! 

And Iva in her chamber stood again — 
Not as at first ; great feelings can impart 

More beauty to the body j the round vein 

Of her high forehead show'd liow full the heart, 

And yet the vivid workings of the soul 

Had, thi-ough the mortal, mingled the divine, 
But leaving it still mortal, (as when shine 

Tlie lamp-rays tlirough an alabaster bowl,) 

Showing the pow'r of human will that could 
Sway in that delicate pulse the calm obedient blood. 

160 iVA. 

With her own hand she quench'd the light o'er- 
Then sought with steady foot that mystic bed. 
Some time she lay in thought, and still, 
As firmly gathering up the will, 
Then stretch'd her right hand out — it fell 
Quickly upon a living form. 
She grasp'd a pulse — it beat — 'twas warm — 
Then she withdrew her arm, she knew that it was well. 

A hand was laid on her's — in vain ! 
It gave' no pressure back again. 
To her brow came the sighing of a breath 
Fanning the disarrangement of her hair ; 
She moved not — there was danger there, 
She spoke not — it was death. 
And a low voice — whose was it ? one alone 

Had such a music in its tone — 
Dropped on her ears, " Dear Iva, Iva" — nay ! * 
Like unimpassion'd marble there she lay, 
And the white-heaving breast show'd her not wholly 

That voice again complainingly, though mild 
As ever martyr's pray'r who sunk and smiled 



IVA. 101 

Upon his torturer, whisper'd by her side, 

" Iva ! you love me not ! " then sobbingly it died. 

To her pale brow, like river flood 

That bursts its boundary, rush'd the blood. 

Up on the bridal couch she sprung, 

And the lips, thrown apart, 
Show'd then how readily the tongue 

Would witness for the heart. 
The words stood trembling on the verge, 
But pass'd it not ! and in retreating surge 
The wave of high-urged feeling sought 
Its level, beaten down b}^ thought. 


Slowly paced the night away. 

Solemn, still, as starless skies ; 
And the lady Iva lay 

With press'd lips and open eyes, 
Till through the curtain'd folds a golden ray 
Broke in with visible voice and cried, " Exult, 'tis 

Up the bridegroom, from the side 
Sprung of the tlirice-married bride, 


162 IVA. 

And let in the eager light 

On the black and baffled night ; 
Turning then in reverent mood 
He, the lord of Nature, stood, 
And, subdued by thoughts that felt 
Voiceless in their passion, knelt 
At the feet of her who late 
Had saved the life of love by conquering fate ! 


Let heroes round their temples bind 

Wreaths grown from blood and tears, 
And in one day of slaughter find 

The long renown of years. 
The masters of a dear-bought name. 
Themselves the very slaves of fame ! 
Or, let the reasoning mind of man 
The distant realms of ether span. 
And bid insensate matter burn 
With fire from that Promethean urn ; 
On these we fix our wond'ring view, 
But plant the heart where first it grew, 
And turn to triumphs nobler far 
Than ever deck'd a Caesar's car ! 


Man walks the image of his God ; 

Yet not to mind is giv'n 
The pow'r to wing above the sod 

Whatever flies at Heav'n. 
With wise ambition wouldst thou share 
The laature of the Angels there, 
And rise the victor of thy life, 
Though men and devils swell the strife 'I 

Go, conquering and to conquer still, 

In armour of the heart and will — 
'Tis not to know, but he the whole. 
Which makes the Godhead of the soul ! 

Hark to the merry voice of bells confessing 

'Tis of no use to be wise to-ni2;ht ! 
And merrier still are the burghers pressing 

To the old hall of Droncheusteit ; 
They, 'mid their tongues and the wine- cups flowing, 
Felt (not as Iva had felt) time growing 
Grew in regard, and the moments going 

Left but a path fur the graceless light J 

164: IVA. 

And from that time whenever there 
Short strife disturb'd a married pair, 
(For Hymen, too, like Cupid, trips 
Sometimes) from the male's ruder lips. 
These words in quaint proverbial song 

Uncourteously would fall ; 
" The way for a woman to speak no wrong, 

Is, never to speak at all ! " 


BX^TTO^ev 7up apTt 6t' tauTTTpou i:v aiviyfxaTi. 

High, from the old poetic ground 
A thousand pillars rise around 
In stately beauty ; for I stand 
In that far-fam'd Egyptian land, 
And by the banks of Nile's creative tide 
Who, rising up in darkness, loves to spread 
The watery wealth of his o'er-teaming bed, 
To animate, to raise and bless 
The heart of this great wilderness, 
'Neath the blue veil of Heav'u where suns beam gol- 

But now 'tis night, if such to me 
This soft and quiet hour may be. 
That droops its lids and holds its breath 
In memory of the day-god's death. 


The solemn harmony of Time 
Rings out a low and funeral chime, 
To fill the fane of Isis, where I gaze 

On each fair image of the goddess-queen, 
And, travelling on to what hath been, 
I grasp the vanishing skirt of long-departed days. 

Queen-goddess ! Isis 1 Threefold essence sprung 
Of yearning minds, and vision half-reveal'd ! 
High things, not fully known, not quite conceal'd. 
Have pour'd the language of each nation's tongue 
Since the world's primal youth. 
Fed by the vital air of an invisible truth ! 

If mystic be thy foith, where breathes the man 
Whose thoughtful worship dares to lift, 

Above this thick inferior night, 
His eye with dazzled glance and swift 
Heav'n's mightier energies to scan, 
Nor blinds his reason with celestial Light 1 

Isis ! great Isis-Athor ! Love supreme ! 

Love infinite, ineffable ! descend, 
And fill my soul with an ecstatic dream 

Shutting out all but thee. Immortal friend ! 


Unite thee with a mortal ! — come ! — 'tis done ! 
Away ! — but where to go 1 The wo Id and I are one ! ( i ) '■• 

All things seem made for me, and in me ; this 
Is more than pleasure. I am very Bliss ! 
Its essence and its end— a rapturous sense 
Of an ubiquitous Intelligence, 
That sees all matter, liking what it sees ; 

That feels all passion, loving what it feels ; 
And from the present gathers all degrees 

Of vital being, and which steals 
All that the gi-ave hath stolen — which can pierce 

The womb of the vast future, rife 

With many-fold delights of life ; 

And from all motion and all resi, 
Action or suffering, draw a joy more fierce 

A thousand-fold than the group'd fires that dwell 
In earth's volcanic palaces, to swell 
The multitudinous throbs of my eternal breast ! (2) 

Benignant Sj)irit ! who dost make 
All happiness ; a god and woman thou ! 
'Twas wise in him whose fancy could draw out 

So great an excellence, to take 

* See Notes at the end of this Poem. 


The diadem of Love, nor doubt 
To fix it on a female brow ! 

Love feeds on all things ; therefore Love 

Should in a larger circle move, 
And compreliend all things. The mind subdues 
Existence to itself, with boundless views 

Embracing the sky's dome, and the earth's dust, 
Where creeps an insect, or a planet rolls. 
All thought, all senses, and all souls. 
All reverence, and all trust ! 

Knowledge takes all things in its grasp. 
And holds them forth for Love to clasp — 
When known to Love, Love makes all thino-s 
its own, 
For that which is unloved had better rest unknown ! 

Thus thou, great Isis-Neith ! dost give (3) 
Wisdom to men, that they may live 
Beyond their own immediate being, 
And into kin-creation seeing 
With their illimitable eyes, 
j\Iay love whate'er they see, for all who love are wise. 


Mild Qiieen-divinity I thou dost watcli o'er 
Thy mighty river's much-loved shore, 
And gather up the vapoury riches rising 
From its broad waters, and comprising 
The treasure in thy cloudy breast, dost hie. 

To where Nile's sacred fountains lie, 
And feedest there its circling life anew, 
Shedding a thousand rills from the dissolving dew ! 

Triply divine ! Isis-Neith-Athor ! greatest 
As Isis, for as such thou waitest 
On the tired spirit, when the gates of Death, 
The portals to a larger Birth, 
Shut out the body and its earth, 
But suffer to pass through the fine expiring breath. 

Great Wisdom ! greater Love ! alas ! 
What claim they but a tear or sigh, 
If, when away this mortal frame shall pass, 

They too must die 1 
Come, gentle goddess ! in this ti'embling hour ; 
Come ! with thy deepest love, thy noblest pow'r. 
In thy great bosom fold 



The panting soul, and waft it where, 
Breathing a more immortal air. 

Itself immortal, but not old — 
With freshen'd health, it shall endure, 
In Wisdom growing great, in Love both great and 
pure ! (■*) 

Shall not the mothei-'s arms be cast again 
Around her child, whose shorten'd life 
Was long enough for tears and pain ? 
— And thovi, rapt mourner ! Where is fled thy 

How went thy heart, when thou didst lay her 
In that dug room of noisome earth 1 — Arise ! 
Stand in the future ! Cease, fond fool, to weep. 
Behold her ! clasp her ! kiss her living eyes ! 
What art thou now 1 The earth thy sorrow trod, 
Where is it 1 Is this joy 1 Say, art thou not a god ? 

Isis ! strong Monarch ! weeping wife — 
Weeping the death of thy mysterious lord ! (''> 
Where is Osiris fled 1 Say ! what is Life — 


What Death, if gods can die 1 Doth heav'n 
What earth denies *? — home for its first-born 
child ! 
Answer ! where thon, in sorrow mild, 
Nor ma'le by sorrow less divine, 
Pour'st thy eternal woe in Philse's woody shrine ! ("> 

Was he not slain by Evil ? Will he not 
Rise over Evil, conquering 1 But till then 
Thou, Goddess- Nature, dost lament for men, 

— Their sicken'd health, their unsufficing lot ! 

Till then, when he shall make all Life his own 
And into joy exalt Creation's deepest groan ! 

The moon is up, and with a tender kiss 

She greets the cheek of Isis, on the height 
Of her old temple-pillars — Whence is this 1 

Sweet loving moon, whence gettest thou thy 
light ? 
Is it thine own 1 or is thy course but run 
In delegated splendour, which now beams, 
Making half-visible all things, as it streams 
Drawn from the nobler fount of a more distant sun ? 


Fair temple ! lone and sorrowfully fair ! 

I quit thee — hear my parting prayer, 
That I may le:irn these present thoughts to link 

With the dim future's woe or weal ; 
And live in faith, whene'er I think — 

In love, whene'er I feel ! 


Note (1).— Page 167. 

" When the mind has conceived all it can of beauty, there remains still, 
ill the person of Isis, something beyond. It may be said to be the sum of 
all the thoughts of man inspired by love, from the Creation. Isis is 
whatever is, lias been, or sluill be, and it has been given to no created 
thint; entirely to comprehend her nature." — Isis, an Egyptian Pilgrimayc, 
My James Augustus St. John, vol. i. p. 8. 

Note (2).— Page 167. 

" 1 liave called the goddess of this temple [Denderah] Athor, the 
Aphrodite of the Greeks ; but iu the mystical theology of the Egyptians, 
tins divinity was only another form of las, who, contemplated in various 
lights, was the mother, nurse, preserver, and restorer of all things, iu con- 
junction with Phthah, Amnion, or Osiris." — Isis, vol. ii. p. 83. 

Note (3).— Page 168. 

" But there is a generation more subtle and refined than that which, in 
some of its accidents, comes under tlie cognisance of the senses. I mean, 
the operation by which, in the womb of intellect, ideas are engendered 
and multiplied, the one from another, iu au inlinite series. Over this 
process, by which the invisible world is peopled, the goddess Neith pre- 
sided, as Athor presided over whatever was connected with the jiroductiim 
of living material beings." — Isis, vol. ii. p. S-i. 


Note (4-).— Page 170. 

" Here the loved and lost were f'ouud again ; here the mother clasped to 
her arras the infant which had seemed to perish in her earthly erabrace ; 
here the husband was joined in eternal union with his beloved wife ; here 
children found again the parents whose eyes they had closed, and of whom 
they had thought they had taken leave for ever ; here the noble and the 
good received the reward of their piety and virtue ; and over this state of 
beatitude the goddess who brings joy out of sorrow, beauty out of de- 
formity, life out of death — Isis, in one word, reigned supreme. — Isis, vol. ii. 
p. So. 

Note (5).— Page 170. 

" Osiris was called the ' manifcster of good,' or the ' opener of truth,' 
and said to be ' full of goodness (grace) aud truth.' He appeared on eartii 
to benefit mankind ; and after having performed the duties he had come 
to fulfil, and fallen a sacrifiue to Typho, the evil principle (which was at 
length overcome hy his influence, after his leaving tiie world), he ' rose 
again to a new life,' and became the judge of mankind in a future state." — 
Maimers and Cusiums of the Ancient Etjyptians, by Sir J. Gardner Wilkin- 
son, second series, vol. i. p. 320. 

Note (6).— Page 171. 

" Nowhere in tlie valley does Isis appear so beautiful as in the sculp- 
tures of Phite. There, whatever way you turn, you behold her serene 
placid countenance ; sometimes smiling on you, sometimes fixed in grief 
on the remains of Osiris, found piecemeal, and reconstructed as it were 

by her Trom the depths, therefore, of our own pure religion, 

and without subjecting our civilization to the dominion of the past, we 
may slill cherish a poetical reverence for Isis; and without at all compre- 
hending the fabulous duality, extend some portion of the fceliug to him 
who sleeps in Phila;." — SL John's his, vol. ii. pp. 311, 313. 



Published in Dublin Vniversity Magazine. 

'TwAS very long aud very flat, 

The sermon that I heard ; 
And o'er the pew in which I sat 

Sleep hover' d, like a bird, 
With noiseless pinions floating there. 
Upon th' uncirculating air. 
Each ancient phrase upon my ear 
In its dull dropping fell less clear, 
And desk, book, preacher, one by one, 
Died like the light of setting sun ; 
And then, upon my puzzled view 
More broad and deep the pulpit grew, 
With seats ranged over seats, as fit 
For an orchestral band to sit. 
The church a church remain'd, although 

To vast and fluted height 
Its white-wash'd pillars from below 

Sprang upward on the sight ; 

176 MRS. J. E. R — D e's dream. 

The fretted roof stretch'd, dignified 
By wider span, from side to side; 
The glass with ancient painting glow'd, 
And all things in their aspect show'd 
A huge cathedral, swelling round 
With holy gloom and solemn sound. 

But eye had scarcely time to range, 
Or ear to list, ere came a change. 
The grim-toned organ's serious theme 

Stopp'd short, and at its close 
Quick strains of music, as beseem 

Th' unsaintly polka, rose. 
And — profanation strange, alas ! — 
Burst forth a crescent row of gas. 
To light some hundred couples then — 
Bare-bosom'd girls and neckcloth'd men. 
Sporting, with self-reflected smiles. 
Their jjersons round through nave and aisles. 
Fingers gripp'd waists, and arms were spread, 
And woman's pleasure-heated head 
On manly breasts sank languishing. 
As round and round in rapid ring 

MRS. J. E. R — D e's dream. 177 

In jumping joy they jigg'd or flew, 

With bob and bend, or whisk and wheel, 

Now forward, backward now — the new 
Terpsichores of toe and heel ! 

As here and there the dancers ran, 
Amid the crowd I saw a man — 
I mark'd him then, I see him now — 
With coiu-teous mien, and straight dark brow. 
Upon his features graven dwelt 
A history — not a tale to melt 
The heart with pity or with love. 
Or aught that gentler passions move ; 
But in his down-cast smile there gleam'd 
A conscious pow'r of ill, which seem'd 
As if the forming soul within 
Had taken centuries of sin 
To build up an ini(juity 
So great, so calm ; and then his eye ! 
It had a fearful pow'r to blight 
The flow'rs festoon'd around each light. 

As to each female he address'd 
His suit to dance, she rose 

178 MRS. J. E. R D — e's dream. 

At once into his arms — not press'd, 
Nor yet as one who chose, 
But shudd'ring, as if Hope had flitted 
Back to the seat which she had quitted. 
Away, away, away they whirl'd. 
Like slinger's stone in circles hurl'd. 
So swiftly, it were hard to trace 
The woman in the man's embrace ; 
Like following things we see, which run 
Confused by motion into one. 
And when the breathless measure dropp'd 

Its long-sustained tone, 
I mark'd where both I thought had stopp'd- 

'Twas wrong — he stood alone I 
The distant lights concentred there 
Beam'd on him in a hazy glare ; 
And from his form, as if the touch 
Of those strange limbs was all too much 
For its fair life, each nearer ray 
Slunk dark and hissingly away ! 

"When at the long aisle's further end. 
The lights, or distance, seemed to lend 
His look a terrifying hue ; 


MRS. J. E. R — D — E's dream. 179 

But still, wheue'er he nearer drew, 

He reassumecl, with fatal ease, 

The pow'r to force or art to please. 

Which won by their mysterious charms 

Another partner to his ai'ms, 

To tread awhile that dance of fear — 

One breathless whirl — then disappear. 

As the last victim, in that race 

For a strange pleasure, pass'd my chair, 
I almost shriek'd, as on her face 

I saw — oh, no ! — nojoi/ was there, 
But an unhoping sense of fate. 
Which horror held from being hate ! 
Quick flash'd across my mind. Should he — 
That man — wdiate'er he is — ask me ! 
Instantly then I saw him turn 
His head around — did the air burn ? 
I thought it scorch'd me — and then rush'd 

A flood of ice through every vein, 
And my whole heart and mind seem'd crush'd — 

A feeling too complete for pain. 
I dared not look — wlnit need for eye ? 
I knew that he was standing by, 

ISO MRS. J. E. R — D — e's dream. 

When every passion, every sense 
Of thought or being grew intense 
With life, then was translated whole 
To him, and left me scarce a soul ! 

I rose — but why ? I would have given, 
To be chain'd there, aught less than Heav'n. 
" Oh, spare me !" piteously I cried. 
" Spare ! Why that word 1 " a voice replied ; 
" 'Tis joy, for you I hope — for me 
I doubt not — yet your choice is free !" 
Free ! when his breath was on my face, 
And, grasp'd in an unseen embrace. 
Each limb moved shudd'ring forward ! Worse 
Than all, there was the smiling curse 
Of that calm look, do what I will, 
Through my shut eyes fix'd on me still ! 
Up sprung the tune ! It seem'd to mingle 
The shrieks of death-beds in its jingle. 
'Tis time ! — "Yet pray, thou lost one !" Pray ! 
In such a presence ! Fool ! away ! — 
But strangely then his bending form 

Grew fainter on my eye; 
And his voice seem'd, hke passing storm, 

MRS. J. E. R D e's dream. 181 

Confusedly to die. 
A friendly mist spread o'er the spot, 
And as I look'd, I saw him not, 
But, in his place, the preacher there 
In the tall pulpit ! Where, oh, ! where 
Hath joy been known like what I knew, 
Reclining in that easy pew 1 
" Thank Heav'n, 'tis past ! " I faintly sigh'd, 
And some one seated near me, cried, 
In feeling tone, " Yes, madam, yes ! 
A tedious sermon, I confess ! " 

182 MRS. J. E. R — D e's dream. 


The following curious extract is taken from " Notes and Queries," 
vol. vii. No. 172, p. 152: — 


The description of the Lavolta in Sir John Davies's poem on dancing, 
The Orchestra, (1506,) sliows that it must liave closely resembled the 
dance which we fondly boast of, as one of the great inventions of the 19th 
century. It runs as follows . — 

" Yet is there one, the most delightful kind, 

A lofty jumping, or a leaping round, 
Where arm in arm two dancers are entwined, 

And whirl themselves, with strict embraceraents bound ; 

And still their feet an anapaest do sound ; 
An anapaest is aU their music's song, 
Whose first two feet are short, and third is long." 

The " Anapaest " is conclusive ; it points exactly to the peculiar nature 
of the Polka, tlie pause on the third step. Moreover, it appears, that as 
1 1 ere is no especial figure for the Polka, so there was none for the 
Lavolta ; for it is classed among those dances 

" Wherein that dancer greatest praise has won, 
Which, with best order, can all order shun ; 
For everywhere he wantonly must range. 
And turn and wind with unexpected change." 


While gazing on thy simple face, 
Young scion of a cherish'd tree, 
I fondly strive that map to trace 

Which life will spread for thee. 
Little thy joyous spirit knows 

How barren seems the prospect there. 
Where grow round Pleasure's every rose 
The many weeds of Care ! 

The world to thee, fair child, is new. 

And from thy heart thy cheek is glad ; 
No sickness yet hath blanch'd its hue, — 
No knowledge made thee sad; 


Thus Natm-e pours her warmest blush, 
And smiles on insects of the spring, 
Ere winter comes, uufear'd, to brush 
The freshness from their wing. 

And so thy spirit's bloom shall fade 

When thou shalt light on rougher days ; 
When blighted hope, and faith betray 'd, 

Shall meet, and chill thy gaze. 
Friend then by friend shall be undone, 

(Who grasps his hand shall blast his fame,) 
And woman's heart, by falsehood won. 
Break in the truth of shame ! 

And thou shalt see affection spurn' d, 

And honour warp'd, and talents sold, 
By those who call'd on Christ, and turn'c. 

To worship pow'r, or gold. 
Sin still shall lift its hydra head, 

Maintain'd by force, or work'd by plan, 
As if a moral plague had spread 

O'er the broad soul of man ! 


Young ! happy ! innocent ! though thou 

Must walk amid this world of pain ; 
Though youth shall fly thy wrinkled brow 

Yet virtue may remain. 
Then wheresoe'er thy lot be tried, 

Whatever sorrows wring that breast, 
Thy mother's footsteps be thy guide, — 
Give up to God the rest ! 


When Pleasure decks her evening bowV 

As bright as Beauty's glance, 
And pours upon the midnight hour 

The music of the dance, 
Alone, amid the festal band 

With heavy hearts we stray, 
For our thoughts are in our father-land 

While we are far away ! 

And silv'ry voices there shall make 

Their notes of gladness swell. 
And skilful hands in mirth awake 

The spirit of the shell. 
Our harps, that once so sweetly rung 

In pleasant days of yore, 
Now lie with silent chords unstrung 

Upon a foreign shore. 


Though clearer skies may shine above, 

And rarer flow'rs below, 
The flow'rs and skies we used to love 

For us no longer glow. 
The ties that bound us then, at first 

From earliest childhood grew, 
And now that those old links are burst, 

Our hearts are breaking too ! 

At home, each spot of humble green 

With charms too fresh to cloy, 
Was cherish'd deeply as the scene 
« Of some recurring joy. 
The simple bliss we tasted there 

Allow'd no better change. 
For here, though nature's face is fair, 

To us that face is strange. 

Yet on our hearts, so sad of late, 

Shall pleasure dawn again ; 
We'll turn to those who share our fate. 

Our exile and its pain. 


To sorrow's keenest pangs relief 
The balm of friendship brings ; 

Love's ties no change can loose, and grief 
But closer draws the strings. 

A mother's arms, a sister's kiss, 

A father's smile invite — 
We'll drown in what we feel of bliss 

The memory of delight. 
And as with brighten'd looks we gaze 

On each accustom'd face, 
We'll find the home of other days 

Revived in their embrace ! 


To ^v<ni]ptov TovTO /at^a t^(niv. 

The many forms of life he tried, 
That minister to man's delight 
In soft desire, or sterner pride, 
By day or night. 

He taught the festal hours to swim 
Upon the tide of song and cup ; 
As pleasure, to the goblet's brim 
Came floating up. 

Each manlier sport he knew, when need 
Of nerve was there, or skilful grace ; 
And fearless upon flying steed 
Provoked the chase 


With Science' lore his mind was fill'd ; 

He learnt the tongues of other chmes ; 
Or in poetic fit distill'd 

His brain in rhymes. 

Fair woman fix'd his fond desire, 
Until his foolish lieart became, 
As brought too close unto the fire, 
Burnt by the flame. 

But still he found that human bhss, 

Though bright when caught, had ready wing, 
And felt in fortune's sweetest kiss 
Some bitter thing. 

The goblet lost its ruby joy, 

And weary Science veil'd her face ; 
And oft-repeated scenes coald cloy 
E'en in the chase. 

And raven locks grew thin and grey, 
And bloom and blossom faded by, 
And slowly died the light away 
From beauty's eye. 


He sought, 'mid shifting grief aud bliss, 
A bosom strung with answ'ring tone : 
Though many friends were round, in this 
He was alone. 

He met with one who more than men 

Reflected both his love and thought ; 
He link'd his life to hers, and then 
Gain'd what he sought. 

For there he found, as still he rang'd 

O'er realms of nature and of art, 
An earthly good that never changed, 
In woman's heart. 

The heart of woman ! worn and bare 

The words have pass'd from tongue to tongue, 
Till the tired Ustener turns him where 
New themes are sung. 

Though stale the phrase, no phrase can tell 
How fresh remains the blessing given — 
From day to day the manna fell, 
But fell from Heav'n. 


So he, more firmly than before, 

The earth in holy musings trod, 
When sign'd the mystic bond which bore 
The seal of God ! 


" O ! tu, severi Religio loci." 



Presiding Spirit ! that here 
Dwellest in grandeur, where the living wood 
Waves its old honours, and the mountain-flood 

Speaks thund'ring to the ear ! 
Shed thy diviner influence on my breast, 
And calm each lowly thought, each earth-born care to 

rest. ' 


'Mid rocky heights, ne'er trod 
By step of man, where nature's mould is cast 
Sublimely wild, and beautifully vast. 

The omnipresent God 
Is visibly felt, or in the arrested light 
That struggles through the grove, more eloquent than 

night ! 



The fretted ceiling, wrought 
In all the prodigality of art, 
Hath not such pow'r to warm the reasoning heart 

Or lift the earthly thought, 
As the great things of nature, where we see 
The labours of a God, the Master-Deity ! 


But why, severely rude, 
Why does my harder fate forbid my stay 
Among these scenes, and beckon me away 

From this calm solitude 
To the world's stormy sea, where every wave 
Kolls o'er the wreck of Hope, or Pleasure's early grave ? 

Yet, when the stream of Life 
Creeps through the vale of years with feebler tide, 
Oh ! may not then some shelter be denied, 

Far from the weakening strife 
Of human ills that darken to Despair, 
From Passion's madd'ning grasp, or iron tooth of Care ! 


Arm for your rights, and you 

Then will be strong ; 
They are the feeble who 

Strike for the wrong. 
England, your mothei", stii-s 

Chafed in her might — 
Up ! then, ye sons of hers, 

Arm for the right ! 


Stand for yovir homes ! and be 

Firm as your shore, 
When on its bounds the sea 

Idly doth roar. 
As the waves rear their crests. 

When the war foams, 
Yours be the barrier-breasts — 

Stand for your homes 1 


For your lives — fire — 'tis done ! 

Who would not bless 
Each bullet leaving one 

Foeman the less 1 
Pray'rs from thy father-land 

Upward shall flow, 
Falter'd for thee whose hand 

Fires on the foe ! 

Die for thy fame ! and thou 

Wilt have lived well — 
Requiem o'er thee now 

Never may swell. 
Friends may not bear thy pall, 

Yet mayst thou claim, 
Blest, though alone, to fall 

Watch'd by thy Fame ! 


As round and rouud the taper's light 

The fluttering insect plays, 
Forsakes the sober shades of night, 

And dares the dangerous blaze, > 

Wouldst thou thy easy helj) refuse 
To save that thoughtless thing, 

And snatch fi-om fire the thousand hues 
That streak its slender wing 1 

'Tis thus the man of worldly will 
Leaves God's appointed way, 

And blinds the eye of Reason still 
With Sin's delusive ray. 

Thy hand a lesser good hath done, 

Now seek a nobler aim — 
And teach a human soul to shun 

A more enduring flame. 


Heav'n's grace shall thank thy high endeavours 

Grace, longer than life's span, 
And wider than the gulf that severs 

The insect from the man. 


Why comes he not, the brave and young, 
Where many crowd to meet him 1 

Why comes he not, when hearts are strung 
With wonted joy to greet him ? 

His vessel waits its master's tread, 

But now from us he parted — 
He '11 come when the waters yield their dead, 

The young, and the valiant-hearted ! 

How died he 1 as he plunged to save 
Some drowning wretch before him 1 

Ah ! no — his pinnace met the wave, 
And the gloomy sea went o'er him ! 

There sank he in our helpless view, 

Not 'mid the tempest's rattle, 
Nor heading on his gallant crew 

In the stormy ranks of battle. 



And long thy maiden grief shall be — 
Hope's disappointed daughter ! 

For him who sleeps, how far from thee ! 
Beneath th' inglorious water ! 


How was thy throne exalted, hoary land ! 

But now, its steps are memories ! Still thou art 
Warm with the beatings of a younger heart. 

Between the goals of Time I see thee stand, 

Flush'd from set suns, and pointing with thy hand 
To dawning day, when the old curse shall be 
Lifted from off" thy spirit, and on thee 

Shall rest thy first-born aspect of command. 

'Tis not enough for thee to lie reclined 

By that blue stream, in faded robe that shrouds 
The skeleton of Pow'r, 'neath purple skies — 

Thou, who didst erst build up thy solemn mind 
To such high faith, that round its top the clouds 
Floated, dim shadows of a creed more wise. 

* Written for '• Isis," l.y J. A. St. Jolin. 

C 00 1 hi fcrnta. 

I HAVE elsewhere remarked that some writers imagine the 
Persian love-songs to contain an esoteric religious meaning. The 
reader can judge for himself. In making the translations, I have 
endeavoured to transfuse the (often extravagant) spirit of Persian 
poetry, rather than to give a literal version. 


Star of my being! thou whose ray till now hath 

brightly shone 
O'er all the weary waste of Life, to guide and cheer 

me on, 
Oh ! tell me why those once kind eyes now smile on 

me no more, 
And throw a shadow o'er my path it never knew 


Sultana of my heart ! fair shrine at which my soul 

bow'd down, 
Why are those brows, once arch'd in love, now bent 

into a frown 1 
The alter'd mien, the averted glance, the cloud upon 

that brow, 
Alas ! too plainly tell that I am loved no longer now. 



Thou lov'st me not ! thou lov'st me not ! and yet I 
cannot fly 

The spell of light that flashes in thine unrelenting 

And though despair has chill'd my thought, and mad- 
ness sear'd my brain, 

Still, on the tide of passion rolls through every burning 

But when my life and woes shall cease, my shade shall 

cross thy course 
To touch, if aught have pow'r to touch, thy spirit with 

And ask thee, if the heart which play'd one note of 

love and died, 
Should thus have been so coldly cast with broken 

chords aside ! 


Thy thoughts be open as the morn, 
From other's secrets live apart ; 
The curious spirit is a thorn 

To tear thy heart ! 

Receive no favours, for the tree, 

Bow'd by its fruit, miist lose in height. 
Thou, standing like the cypress, be 
Pui'e and upright. 

Why vex thyself with good and ill 1 

These are the fogs of Earth — the soul 
Should, like the sun in ether, still 
Above them roll. 

What is the world to thee'? The rout 

Of struggling fools may weep or rave — 
A Icing in thine own house, without 
Thou art a slave ! 


What more to thee can fortune bring 1 

What more chance give thee of dehght 1 
Adorn thy bow'r at home, and sing 
The songs I write. 


Maid of the jasmine breast ! whose cheek 
Is purpled by the tuhp's streak, 
Whose tresses stain in jetty flow 
The silv'ry-rising neck below — 
Tell me, stone-hearted girl, for whom 
Thy charms reveal their fatal bloom. 

Thou walkest forth — a warrior thou — 
For Love sits arm'd upon thy brow. 
Thou spreadst a never-failing snare, 
Thy net of black-descending hair. 
Ah ! whose the heart that all in vain 
Will strive to rend that slender chain ? 

HAFIZ. 209 

As when in youthful radiance bright 
The Moon first bows her arch of light, 
So, brighter orbs than hers above 
Young Beauty bends the bow of love. 
Alas ! for him, whose breast shall be 
A mark for woman's archery. 

From the full cup of chaste desire 
My veins have drunk delicious fire — 
My heart was link'd to thee of old ; 
What time can make its fervour cold I 
I am the slave that digs the mine — 
The wealth of untouch'd Beauty thine! 


Joseph will come to Canaan's land again, , 
Each house of woe outlive its time of pain, 
And hearts rebloom like roses after rain. 

Then grieve no more ! 

210 HAFIZ. 

E'eu shall this feeble breast resume its pow'r, 
As nightingales, when past the blinding show'r, 
Reseek the presence of their red-lipp'd flow'r : 

Then grieve no more ! 

The world goes round, and changes as it goes. 
And o'er the broad earth if a deluge flows, 
Should Noah hold the helm, fear not — repose, 

And grieve no more ! 

1 and my state, my rival and his love, 
Are known to God; and He alone can move 
The things of earth, who shakes the skies above, — 

So grieve no more ! 

TJien weep not, Hafiz ! in thy prison-room ; 
No grief exhales between thee and the tomb 
A scent so foul which Pray'r can not perfume — 

Oh ! weep no more ! 


Son of Islam I?— No— no — 
I these shadowy creeds forego. 
Tell me not of Saints above, 
I'm the Infidel of Love ! 

And the leech comes day by day — 
Witless man of drugs, away ! 
'Tis my heart that wounded lies, 
Heal it with her pitying eyes. 

Love hath sown his pangs like seeds 
In my breast that beats and bleeds; 
Wouldst thou give its culture scope ? 
"Wet it with the dews of Hope ! 

Worship idols, do 1 1 Yes, — 
I that glorious crime confess ; 
I'd forsake it could I see 
Aught in Heav'n so fair as she ! 

H I S A M. 

Nestled in flow'rs I saw two serpents sleeping, 
In sable folds their dangerous length was laid — 

Alas ! alas ! it was the dark locks creeping 
O'er thy fair bosom, soul-seducing maid ! 

The dimple of thy cheek is more destroying 

Than the deep pit down which young Yustif "' fell, 

For, twice a hundred eyes such sight enjoying. 
Would leave a hundred hearts within that well ! 

What dress for thee 1 What garment brightly flowing 
Should clothe thy form 1 Despoil a tulip-bed — 

Make of its flow'rs thy vesture — full and glowing, 
And with its buds encrown thy radiant head. 

When lovers' strains, convincingly complaining, 
(^an touch the heart, or pow'r be theirs, or gold, 

Hope rests with them ; but what for mes remaining, 
Poor and unpitied, tongue and bosom cold 1 

* JoseiJh. 


Yet from my words flows truth, though uninspiring ; 

Who doubts thy charms would on Judeea's sod 
Have scorn'd the wonders which the world admiring 

Saw Isaa do, the Christians' martyr-God ! 

To me and to my heart alone 
How oft for thee we sigh is known ; 
How oft we sob and sigh for thee, 
Is known but to my heart and me ! 
Lady, learn wliat I endure, 
Ere knowledge come, too late to cure ! 


Like grain the mole upon thy neck, 
Like nets are spread thy tresses there ; 

A silly bird that flew to peck 

The seed, was taken in the snare. 

Say, should it break its chain, or be 

Content with that captivity ? 

H A F I Z. 

What woe is this 1 What strife is here 
Which 'neath the moon I see ? 

For help, a blow ; for smiles, a tear ; 
The world's perplexity ! 

By brother, brother is undone, 

And father frowns upon his son ! 

I see by coarse pack-saddle vext 

The Arab charger pass, 
While graced with golden collar next 

Stalks by the princely ass. 
Fools quaft red goblets, but the wise 
Feed only on their tears and sighs. 

I give thee counsel — poor in pelf — 
Soon heard, soon understood ; 

Do justice only to thyself, 
To others only good. 

Do this — it is the doing which 

Will fill thy soul and make thee rich. 

Price 5s. 



" Abounds with philosophic thought and poetic imagery."— John BnU. 

"'Lelio,' the principal poem of this volume, exhibits considerable 
poetic spirit, and great, though untamed power." — Spectator. 

" There is much lofty and genuine poetry in the volume .... His 
descriptions of beauty are certainly among the finest things in a volume 
of poetry which we look upon as one of the most remarkable of the 
time in power and promise." — Chambers's Edinburgh Journal. 

" His volume entitles him to be ranked among the worthiest candi- 
dates for the Valhalla of England, when that institution is erected." — 
Eliza Cook's Journal. 

" Mr. Scott is a poet of a very high order." — Indian News. 

" Mr. Scott's poetry .... is infinitely beyond the common order of 
contemporary writing." — Sharpe's London Magazine. 

" The principal poem in this volume is a work of extraordinary merit, 
whether we regard its moral purpose, or the manner in which it is 
executed .... The volume lies clearly out of the common order " — 
Bentletj's Miscellany. 

" Of this school of poets, the latest, the most healthy and comprehen- 
sible is Mr. Scott, the author of ' Lelio,' a poem full to overflowing of the 
tenderest teaching, possessing much grace and power, and favourably 
distinguished from many of its class by a pure morality, and an enlight- 
ened but undoubting Christianity." — Dublin. University Magazine. 

" He is for ever darting forth into the infinite space of the metaphysics 
of the soul, with no ordinary vigour and stretch of pinion .... He is a 
great master, equal to any in modem times we have ever read, of the 
musical and rhythmical capacities of language." — English Revieir. 

" His verses are pregnant with thought, with recondite allusion, with 
delicate suggestions .... Generally there is a distinctiveness of purpose, 
and a wealth of imagery, which lend to the compositions a peculiar 
charm." — Eclectic Review. 

" His muse soars into the heaven of invention, and his philosophy 
explores the depths of metaphysics. . . . We take our leave of Mr. Scott, 
impressed with the highest admiration for his genius, and indulging the 
confident hope that his is yet destined to be a great name in our 
literature." — Edinburgh IVitness. 


Lately published, price 5s. 6d. cloth gilt, 



' consentaneum est esse in luna viventes creaturas.' 



" The present poem is graceful, polished, and original. ... It bespeaks 
a mind full of fancy and poetical resources." — Siiniltii/ Times. 

"His" [Mr. Scott's] "is no common mind; he enthrones philosophy 
in verse, and embalms astronomy in song. Soaring into the region of 
lofty imager}', he is a writer of undoubted power. . . . The prose remarks 
on the moon are admirable." — Dundee, Perth, and Cupar Advertiser. 

" A work in which scientific observation is combined with great poetic 
feeling, and considerable power." — Notes and Queries. 



This book is DUE on the last 
date statnp>ed below. 




•■"•■"" '"L LiLihHhY hACILITY 


Scott - 

5299 Thomas ^ Becket 
S67t ■ 

AA 000 380 798 


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